News brief: Citrus Valley High School’s mock trial team wins semi finals

By MEANNA SMITH

Citrus Valley High School’s mock trial team won the semi finals against Oak Hills Red on Jan. 12. 

After winning against Oak Hills Red, Citrus Valley mock trial became the top team in San Bernardino County. 

Acuna states, “This is my first time winning semi finals and I’m nervous but more excited.”

The mock trial team’s teacher coaches are Kathryn Fonken-Stoker and Debbie Muniz. 

Fonken-Stoker states, “The team is very slightly nervous, but we’re excited.”

The team will compete in the finals on Saturday, Jan. 14. If the team wins this match, they will advance to state finals and compete to win the title of mock trial state champions. 

Juliana Acuna, senior at Citrus Valley, was awarded the MVP title for her role as witness. (MEANNA SMITH/ETHIC NEWS)

Efforts for more female athlete recognition under way, Wildcat athletes say they deserve more

By ALEX VERDUZCO

While female athletes make up a total of 44% of all athletes, they receive a fraction of the coverage male sports do, as female sports coverage is less than 10% of all media attention.

This is according to Togethxr, a media company founded by female olympians Alex Morgan, Sue Bird, Chloe Kim and Simone Manuel launched a platform in March 2021 dedicated to showcasing more women in sports.

These decorated athletes use their voice to uplift fellow women in the field of sports and put out content to shine a spotlight on those who otherwise would not be featured in televised programs.

Digital art created to incorporate the sports of founders of Togethxr, sports coverage company highlighting women in the media on Dec. 15, 2022 (ALEX VERDUZCO/Ethic News media)

Since 1989, a study has been conducted every five years by the University of Southern California and Purdue University, with the purpose of revealing the percentage of female sports media coverage when compared to male sports coverage. The most recent findings, published in 2019,  revealed that 95% of sports media coverage tends to revolve around men’s sports, leaving that remaining 5% to presumably feature women’s sports.

These results raise the following questions, “Why do men’s sports grab the most attention?” and, “Do women deserve more recognition in media coverage?” Yes, female athletes put in the same amount of training and undergo the same requirements to be recruited in professional sports as do their male competitors. Why are sports presented differently based on the gender of the players? If, according to the study’s data, women are receiving some small amount of attention in the media, then why is the percent staying the same rather than increasing over time?

 Cheryl Cooky, professor at Purdue University of American Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, explains that the reasoning behind this is due to women landing a piece in the news that is often overshadowed by multiple accomplishments done by male athletes. With this, “one and done,” as she refers to it, the amount of content highlighting women’s achievements in sports is buried by the male dominated industry, and their surplus of coverage which limits the attention of female athletes. This restricts the increase of recognition women receive.

Do female athletes deserve more recognition in sports? Redlands East Valley High School student athletes weigh in.

Kate Sorenson of the REV varsity girls’ wrestling team says, “Girls’ wrestling is rarely ever shown in the media which makes opportunities far fewer. If women received the same amount of media coverage in our sport, we’d experience far more success and earn more praise for our accomplishments. Media coverage improves the quality of sports by increasing participation. For wrestling, the more women we have on the team, the more competitive we can be as a school. It’s hard to get girls interested in wrestling when girls are a minority.”

Kate Sorenson, representing Redlands East Valley High School varsity girls’ wrestling, stands in front of the weight room doors on Dec. 5, 2022. (ALEX VERDUZCO/ Ethic News photo)

Jason Knutson, mixed doubles badminton player at REV says, “Yes, womans’ sports should have more recognition, but the reason they don’t is because their sports are newer to the world than mens’ sports so they haven’t gained as much popularity and publicity.”

Jason Knutson, from the Redlands East Valley High School badminton team, stands in the REV library after school on Dec. 5, 2022. (ALEX VERDUZCO/ Ethic News photo)

“Yes, I do feel like girls in sports are unrecognized. I feel like this is also a part of hidden misogyny,” says Kate Heinze of the varsity water polo and swim team. “For example, boys’ water polo has been given money and is always talked about. But for girls’ water polo, we are a division 6 team and almost beat a team that has future Olympians on it; additionally, boards like the ABC [Aquatics Booster Club] refuses to give us money to travel to games for California Interscholastic Federation because we are destined to lose– why are they giving the boys’ team a chance but not ours? We deserve it just as much because we are bringing in wins.”

Celine Hill, captain of the varsity cheerleaders and water polo says, “Yeah, I believe women deserve equal representation in all fields including athletics. Like at football games, cheerleaders have supporters too and yet all the ticket money made goes toward the football players. Girls don’t seem to get funding in [school] sports like the boys do.”

Kate Heinze and Celine Hill varsity girls’ water polo players stand in front of the Redlands East Valley High School swimming pool fence on Dec. 5, 2022. (ALEX VERDUZCO/ Ethic News photo)

Dylan Cockerill, a member of the cross country and track team says, “Yes, women deserve equal representation compared to men.”

Jared Rubow, varsity boys’ tennis player, “Yes, that way we [as a society] can watch more tournaments.”

LEFT: Jared Rubow, Redlands East Valley High School varsity boys tennis player, stands in front of the trees on school campus before class starts on Dec. 5, 2022. RIGHT: Dylan Cockerill, REV cross country and track runner, stands in front of the pool fence after school on Dec. 5, 2022. (ALEX VERDUZCO, Ethic News Photo)

High schools in Redlands host hot cocoa competition

By ANNETTE ALFARO

High Schools across Redlands competed in a hot cocoa competition. The competition tookplace on Dec. 9 between Citrus Valley High School, Redlands East Valley High School and Redlands High School. 

Citrus Valley High School, Redlands High School and Redlands East Valley High School each promoted the hot cocoa competition on their instagram accounts. (Instagram screenshots/ Ethic News media)

The competition was also named the “Mug-of-War” contest.

Kylie McCue, a Citrus Valley junior, said,”It was good. Participation was good and hopefully it will be an annual thing.”

At each high school, the student government representatives scanned identification cards, filled cups with water, and provided hot chocolate packets. Students had to come before school to have their cups filled. Citrus Valley also went out of their way to provide disposable cups to anyone who did not bring their own cup. 

The winner was announced at the end of lunch. The results were posted on Instagram announcing that RHS had won the competition by 45 cups with Citrus Valley coming in second and REV placing third.

Citrus Valley junior Riley Brossia said,”Even though we lost, I think it really rallied our school spirit.”

All three high schools posted the results of the “Mug-of-War” on their instagram accounts. Citrus Valley High School and Redlands East Valley High School congratulated Redlands High School for their win. (Instagram screenshot/ Ethic News media)

Overall the competition was a big success with Citrus Valley, REV and RHS all receiving high participation in the first “Mug-of-War” hot cocoa challenge. 

It was announced that this was going to be an annual tradition and this year was the first. 

Local swim team requests access to Citrus Valley High School pool from School Board

By MIA CALIVA

Amongst the chaos and politics of the Oct. 25 Redlands Unified School Board meeting, a local swim team named the Inland Empire Aquatics took to the podium to request pool access at Citrus Valley High School. The Inland Empire Aquatics Club has been adamant in requesting this pool access, with several student-athletes and parents speaking during public participation with the School Board, sharing their stories and reasons for request. 

Citrus Valley High School parent Karen Hitter says, “[IEAQ] started at a community pool in Highland, and then to Pacific high school, and finally we were at Indian Springs High School before we were pushed out by another San Bernardino High School.” 

IEAQ is currently practicing at Indian Springs High School. IEAQ reportedly does not have access to any other pools in Redlands. 

Public participation from IEAQ parents and athletes also reveals that another local swim team, the Redlands Swim Team, has access to all Redlands pools, including the pool at Crafton Hills College in Yucaipa, which makes the appearance that IEAQ is being unfairly mistreated.

RST has access to all local facilities due to an old contract with the District from over many years ago. Several parents and students remarked that this old contract should be terminated as it prevents other aquatics teams from growing and providing for many athletes.  

The Board was provided with statistics when Redlands Unified School District resident Maria Figueroa said, “Roughly 80% of Citrus Valley aquatics athletes come from clubs other than RST.” 

Despite the fact that many Citrus Valley aquatic athletes are members at IEAQ, limited pool access for IEAQ prevents Citrus Valley athletes from pursuing their extracurriculars. 

Figueroa goes on to express her disappointment with the School Board. She says, “This creates inequality with access to Citrus Valley and RST’s ability to serve Citrus Valley athletes.”

Hitter says, “We just want a fair opportunity to use or share the facility.” 

The IEAQ team carries more than 100 competitive swimming members per year but has had fewer members since COVID. Still, the club is still largely community-oriented. 

Citrus Valley student Jonah Martinez says, “I’ve been a member of this family for 6 years. We’ve all grown close together through COVID. Nothing had broken us apart and now thanks to the relevant and old contracts, exclusive clubs, and decisions made by the district and school board we are ultimately torn apart.”

Supporters feel that because of restricted pool access, IEAQ is being broken up and prevented from possibly giving rise to many great swimming athletes. Several requests have been denied multiple times and many are upset at what they feel is mistreatment. 

The Redlands School Board has still yet to allow pool access.

In a heartfelt conclusion, Martinez says, “This issue is beyond contracts, rights, and laws. I just want to be with my teammates and under the advice and direction of my coaches.”

Feature photo: An empty Citrus Valley High School swimming pool prior to the water polo match on Dec. 15, 2022. (DESTINY RAMOS/ Ethic News photo)

Orangewood counselor and outdoor enthusiast takes on a new adventure

By LAUREN BISHOP AND JOSHUA ZATARAIN 

Known as an amazing counselor and great human being, students already miss him and he hasn’t left yet.

Jason Knight, Orangewood High School counselor, is known around campus as a kind and comedic counselor that can relate to students and their situations.

Although he loves Redlands, Knight is going to move to Tennessee and work as a behavioral intervention teacher at an elementary school. 

Orangewood High School guidance counselor Jason Knight and senior Lauren Bishop stand at the front entrance. Knight has been Bishop’s counselor at Orangewood and she says of Knight, “He makes me so comfortable because he can actually relate to my situation.” (JOSHUA ZATARAIN/ Ethic News photo)

Knight has been working in the fields of education for “a while now“ or to be more accurate, 30 years. 

As a guidance counselor, Knight’s favorite part of his job is “helping students graduate.” 

On the contrary Knight’ hardest part of being a counselor is “watching students struggle with stuff such as personal issues and that sort; it makes it hard for them to graduate.”

“Mr. Knight is comforting and he actually listens when you open up to him,” says Orangewood junior Xiomara Sanchez.   

Unlike traditional quarter or semester calendars, Orangewood operates in a block system where grades are due every three weeks and counselors have to check transcripts of every student assigned to them every three weeks. Having to check 150 students almost at the same time monthly can be stressful but Knight manages.

Angel Leon describes Knight as “a cool counselor.” 

“He understands the situation I’m going through because of the situations that we share,” says Leon.  

Knight is from San Diego and claims to be “like an Orangewood student, to be completely honest.” 

As a teenager, Knight says, “I didn’t like school. I think that’s part of why I do okay here.”

His advice to his teenage self would be, “Work a little bit harder in high school because it does make a difference.”

Before being a counselor, he worked for a car dealership delivering car parts and then as a teacher.

Outside of his work, Knight enjoys being outdoors and volunteering for the police department.

In his community volunteer role, Knight says that he likes the people he works with but has seen “ugly fires, bad accidents and people who aren’t always happy with you.”  

Knight describes himself as an introverted extrovert who enjoys the outdoors.

He says he’s going to miss waking up to “the view of the hills in my front yard.” 

He likes to travel and his idea of traveling is going camping, hiking and just overall being outdoors. 

He likes visiting national parks with his wife and his goal is to hit all of the national parks in the contiguous United States. 

As an outdoors person, he doesn’t play video games much now, but remembers playing Atari as a kid or going to the pizza place to play video games.

Knight also used to speak a little German but over the years he’s lost it as he never really used it. 

He loves his family and friends and likes “just hanging out and being able to talk to somebody that will listen.” 

He owns a Chiwawa Mix and her name is Trixsy who he says is very friendly.

As to the controversial question on whether pineapple belongs on a pizza, Knight says, “If you ask my wife she would say yes but, if you ask me, I’m not so sure.”

This semester is his last with Redlands Unified School District and as a counselor at Orangewood. After that, he will start his new position as a behavior intervention teacher in Tennessee.

His message is, “Let’s treat each other with kindness, because we all need it.”

Dragons compete in volleyball tournament to end season

By VINCENT CASTRO

Orangewood high school girls participated in a volleyball tournament Dec. 6. The tournament was at Citrus High School in Fontana. 

The starting lineup of the girls was seniors Selena Gomez, Siniva Tuaumu, Blessen Thomas, Samantha Espinoza, Mya Trujillo, and Alicia Zaragoza.  

Orangewood High School senior Siniva Tuaumu practices hits before tournament games on Dec.6 at Citrus High School in Fontana. Tuaumu plays on both the girls and boys volleyball teams. (JORDAN CARRANZA BECERRA/ Ethic News photo)

¨It’s harder than it looks and it’s a lot more fun than I thought it was gonna be,” said senior Mya Trujillo.

The girls went into the tournament as the bottom seed of the bracket. It was a two elimination tournament stating if you lose twice you are eliminated for the tournament.  

The first game Orangewood played was against the top seed which was Citrus High School, the girls of Orangewood lost 18-25.  

The Orangewood High School girls volley team prepares for games on Dec.6 at Citrus High School in Fontana. (JORDAN CARRANZA BECERRA/ Ethic News photo)

In the second game Orangewood won 25-17, which led to a third game to decide the winner.  The girls went in confident but lost 13-25.  

Going into the losers bracket, Orangewood ended up playing Birch.  The girls ended up losing all three games and were sent home.

¨Success is how high you bounce when you hit the bottom,¨ said senior Alicia Zaragoza.

The Orangewood High School boys also participated in a volleyball tournament on Dec. 7. They also played in Fontana but at Jurupa High School.    

The starting lineup was seniors Daniel Mejia, Samnuel Bahena, Victor Soria, Jonathan Reynoso, Moktar Rejah, and Siniva Tuamu.  

Orangewood High School coach Mark Perkins gives the boys volleyball team a motivational speech before the games on Dec. 7 at Jurupa High School in Fontana. (SAMANTHA ESPINOZA/ Ethic News photo)

The first game Orangewood played was against March High School. 

The boys lost two straight games putting them in the losers bracket.  

In the losers bracket Orangewood played against Lincoln High School, taking the win twice in a row.  

Going back into the main bracket, Orangewood also played Citrus High School, the top seed team. Orangewood beat Citrus two straight games, moving Orangewood to third place.

Orangewood High School coach Mark Perkins speaks to the team during a team huddle on Dec. 7 at Jurupa High School in Fontana. (SAMANTHA ESPINOZA/ Ethic News photo)

¨Work hard, play hard,¨ said Carranza.

Orangewood went in confidently, but the tournament was running out of time so both coaches decided to only play one game.  

The boys ended up losing 10-25 which led to them leaving the tournament in third place.

¨We went farther than expected,¨ said Bahena.

Orangewood High School coach Mark Perkins and members of the boys volleyball team shake hands with the opposing team after a game on Dec. 7 at Jurupa High School in Fontana. (SAMANTHA ESPINOZA/ Ethic News photo)

Diving into who coach Bruich is

BY JASMINE ROSALES

Showing his humorous side, Coach Bruich strikes a pose for the camera (JASMINE ROSALES/ETHIC NEWS)

Growing up, Citrus Valley High School football coach Kurt Bruich was an all around athlete who dabbled in whatever sport was in season. From a young age, Bruich could always be found on the court, the diamond, the mat, or field year round, but the football field at Fontana High School where his dad, Dick Bruich coached, would be the place that would shape Bruich into the person he is today. 

As a child, Bruich grew up in Fontana, California. He is the middle child with one older sister, who is 11 months older, and a younger brother, who is nine years younger than him. While growing up, his older sister became his best friend, they did everything together. The two of them would always be outside playing sports or games until the street lights came on. 

 Jerry Sheare, an English teacher at CV, shares his fond memories of his childhood spent with Bruich. 

“I remember racing up and down the sidelines running fade routes with Kurt before, during and after every FOHI game,” Sheare says, “We topped it off with greasy pizza from Mazzullis, what could be better for the sons of two football coaches?”

With his dad as the head football coach at Fontana High School at the time, Mr. Bruich was busy coaching during the fall. So because of that, Bruich and his sister would go to school with their dad to the practices where they learned to run around the school and make it like their second home.

In high school football, Bruich was an offensive player. He played both sides of the ball, but on offense he played wingback and H-back. 

Being able to be coached by his dad really impacted Bruich because his father is his role model. Bruich grew up watching his dad impact his friends’ lives on and off the field.

Elijah Penrice, a senior at Citrus Valley states “He’s taught me to keep myself in check and i’m the one who controls my own destiny, he really has been a role model and father figure in my life for the past four years and I will always be grateful for that.”

Seeing what he was able to do, the lessons he taught them, and just the impact he made overall really inspired him to do the same as a coach now. 

Bruich’s platform is to not only teach his team how to win on the field but to also win in life. He wants to be able to mentor kids the way he watched his dad do when he was younger. It’s deeper than football.

Penrice also says, “One thing that I’ll take with me that coach B taught me is to be resilient in any situation life threw at me and keep pushing to my ultimate goal whatever that may be.”

Bruich shares how having past players come visit him 20 years later and to see how they’ve grown as a person and even as parents is what it’s all about. He takes great pride in every kid that he coaches and loves watching them become great players and people. 

Leaving high school, Bruich received a scholarship to Cal Polytechnic State University where he majored in Physical Education with an emphasis in Sports Psychology. He attended CPSU for two years and then transferred to the U of R where he received his degree in physical education and a masters in education.

Following Bruich’s college graduation, he had already begun his coaching career while assisting his dad in the spring during Bruichs’ off season. After graduating from the U of R, Bruich became a graduate assistant. 

His first head coach position was at Cerritos High School, Bruich got the position at just 23 years old. Moving from Cerritos to Redlands became a reality when one of his old college coaches called him, and asked if this is somewhere he would want to be. 

“Being in Redlands, Inland Empire, it’s home to me so it was an easy decision for me to come back” Bruich confidently answered. 

He then got hired for Redlands East Valley High School and to Citrus Valley where he is currently working as the head coach of the Blackhawks. 

Early on Bruich knew he wanted to have a family, so when he moved to Redlands to coach at REV, he had been given a miracle.

At his first head coach position at Cerritos, he met his wife, Lisa Bruich in the spring of 1988 where she worked as the cheerleading coach. The two began dating in January of 2002, they got engaged three months later on April 1, 2002. That following year she was hired to teach English at Moore Middle School. Currently, Mrs. Bruich serves as the Director of Human Resources in the district office.

Coach B and Mrs. Bruich were inseparable since. With time, Bruich would get married to his best friend.

“Because of Coach Bruich’s support and encouragement, I have been able to accomplish many things. We’re a great team and I am truly thankful,” Mrs Bruich shares.

Working together as a team, the pair have accomplished many things in their careers. Bruich achieved his 200th win this season at Citrus Valley.

On coach Bruichs right arm, he has a tattoo to signify him and his dad’s coaching. The state of california as the base, the top ring was when Bruichs dad were state champs under his coaching in 1989. The ring under that is when coach Bruich led the Redlands East Valley team to the championships in 2014. Bruich and his father are the only father and son duo who have each won state championships and won 200+ games in their career. (JASMINE ROSALES/ETHIC NEWS)

Throughout the years, Bruich had to overcome many challenges growing up which have shaped him into who he is today. From being the son of the head football coach, having an older sister who was an All California Athlete in two different sports and got a scholarship to Marymount California University. This left Bruich with a lot of pressure on him to live up to the Bruich name his family had built up. He really wanted to find his own identity and create a name for himself. 

Going through a rough patch in his early 20’s showed Bruich just how strong he was as a person, having to relay and rebound from unfortunate circumstances made him stronger. Meeting his wife and committing to a relationship, and being able to establish himself as a coach separate from his dad really helped Bruich be able to define who he is. 

One of the many mottos that Bruich heavily believes is “Find your passion & pursue it.” This motto keeps him young and motivated and hopeful. Day by day he continues to better himself and continues to find his identity. 

In his spare time Bruich enjoys spending time with his family, as his two girls give him a purpose in life, he loves to watch sports, mainly football. Bruichs’ favorite hobby is barbequing. He loves to smoke all kinds of meat, and different woods, really changing it up. His specialty and well known brisket, seasoned with his special recipe. Smoking tri tip on a day to day basis is where it’s at, boneless chicken thighs the list goes on and on. 

Coach B, as many call him, is a very uplifting person with a sense of humor, Bruich shares that he is very keen on dad jokes and even has a book on them.

Taking it day by day, Bruich strives to better himself and see what the future holds for him. Hitting a milestone of receiving his 200th win on October 14, 2022, he is setting and achieving personal goals, always pushing for more. 

Orangewood’s engineering teacher keeps it real

By NATHANIEL JOHNSON and JOSH BENNECKE

TRISTAN HOLSOMBACH contributed to this article

Matthew Stewart is a fifth year engineering teacher at Orangewood High School with a goal to ”help as many students as possible…to achieve things beyond what they believe they are capable of.”

As a teacher in the Career Technical Education program, Stewart  likes seeing his students improve and realize that they can understand engineering.

“In Mr. Stewarts we are always working on something that is fun and creative,” says Orangewood senior Cody Thorpe, “From battlebots to CO2 cars, there is never a dull moment inside the class.”

“My favorite project in the class so far has been building battle bots,” says Thorpe, “This was my favorite project because we got full responsibility over our bots. Everyone’s bot was unique and had its own mechanism to destroy other students’ battle bots.”

Orangewood junior Ronnie Garcia says, “Stewarts my all time favorite bald teacher.”

Stewart had many careers before becoming a teacher.

“I started as a carpenter out of high school, transitioned into an operating engineer, then a surveyor, then moved into the office setting of a large civil engineering company,” says Stewart. 

“From there I started as a project engineer and moved into estimating and finally a general superintendent.  I then moved into ICT and worked as an IT director for a medium sized clinical laboratory consulting firm.” 

Stewart says he left that position in 2016. He started teaching at Orangewood in 2017 as a long-term sub for Colton-Redlands-Yucaipa Regional Occupational Program and, Stewart says, “never left.”

Stewart also keeps two small businesses running in his spare time from being a full-time teacher.

Looking back at his younger years, Stewart describes his teenage-self as “a hot mess.” 

In high school, Stewart says he was saved by his football coach. His coach taught him to give 100% at everything that he did. 

“My brother and I were saved by our high school football coach,” says Stewart. “Without coach P,  my life would be much different.  He taught us to give 100% at anything and everything we do.  He held us to high standards and I can’t thank him enough for doing that.”

Stewart says that his advice to his teenage-self would be, “Change nothing, it’s worked out alright.”

Orangewood High School teacher Matthew Stewart instructs Engineering I students, seniors Justin Hernandez, Josh Bennecke and Cayden Van Winkle, on how to construct a box to hold transmitters for battle bots. (TRISTIN HOLLENBACH/Ethic News photo)

Citrus Valley High School’s engineering class visited Orangewood on Dec.7 to do a shared activity racing CO2 cars.

After Citrus Valley arrived, a large table was set up, one the length of the multi purpose room, the dragsters were pulled out and they were raced.

Stewart had a positive reaction about the event with Citrus Valley, saying it was “awesome”

He proceeded to mention about how Orangewood took eight of the top ten positions and four of the top five against Citrus Valley.

According to Stewart, Citrus Valley teacher Brian Bartlett  actually asked how Orangewood did it.

Though Orangewood stood out, the top two positions of the two fastest dragsters were that of Orangewood seniors Nicholas Boiarski and Jeremiah Lopez.

Stewart had no opinion on the rules as they are by the national committee of the specific activity.

Stewart’s students also participate in the annual Rube Goldberg competition, and have won at the national level.

Youtube viewers can watch the final product of Orangewood High School student’s winning 2022 Rube Goldberg entry. Engineering teacher Matthew Stewart guides students in this project. The caption to the youtube video reads: “Our Rube Goldberg Machine started life as 8 separate projects and then was turned into one giant 110 step machine. As time went on, we had to cut a few steps out due to parts breaking or the likelihood of the step not working was too great. We ended up with 98 steps and opening our Lorax book after we slid it two feet with a simple dowel pulley system and a repurposed Ryobi drill. We managed to get the book to strike two household interrupter switches wired to DC batteries. One triggered a linear actuator, and the other triggered a geared motor for small robotics to pick up the slack fishing line. We spent 6 weeks on the project and set it up roughly 300 times. We got only 5 complete runs with no touches, and a dozen more with one or two touches. We believed we had a perfect video until Mr. Stewart’s phone had reached its storage limit. Luckily, we had another camera and were able to save a little of the run on the phone. Our theme was The Lorax because promoting literacy was a goal of the contest this year. We all thought about what started us reading and Dr. Seuss came up many times. Then we decided to make it a little ironic because our machine is made mostly of wooden parts. We used robotics systems, remote control systems, a catapult, a Nerf dart gun, our compressed air rocket launcher, many motors and switches, CNC routed parts, 3D printed parts, magnets, funnels, string, wire, tubing, LED lighting, hinges, and many types and sizes of balls. We hope you enjoy our entry and can’t wait to see everyone’s submissions!”

According to Stewart, it is different every year and the objective is to build a contraption with random materials provided to get some task done. Prior to the main competition, the event has mini games where you can win materials or tools to aid you in the competition.

In each competition there are eight highschools, eight middle schools, and eight elementary schools. 

With the provided materials the competitors get six hours with only direction from the teachers chaperoning, no physical intervention even with power tools.

The Rube Goldberg Competition is at Rialto High School this school year on Feb. 4. 

Stewart has hobbies outside of school like fly fishing, riding off-road motorcycles and learning “something new as often as possible.” 

As for the most challenging part of teaching, “this is the easiest, most fun job I have ever had,” says Stewart.

Video: Wildcat marching band members speak about what makes the sport special

By NALIEAH MILLER

The marching band has been underestimated for a long time. This behind-the-scenes video shows hard work, discipline, skill, and emotion. These students use every practice to perfect the show and strive to make it the best. There is a family within this group as they are all the parts that make up Redlands East Valley High School’s marching band.

Q&A: Academic case carrier counselor helps students overcome challenges

By NORYAH COPAS

Sophia Malsher-Lopez is an academic case carrier counselor in the Redlands Unified School District. Malsher-Lopez is known as Ms. Sophia by her students and visits different schools, including Citrus Valley High School. 

What is your position or title? 

Academic Case Carrier Counselor

Pronouns?

she, her and hers

What are some of the main responsibilities with this position?

As a counselor, my main responsibilities are to ensure that students are successful academically and in their personal lives.  I help students with academic challenges, social challenges, mental health challenges, homelife challenges and help prepare them for life after high school. 

How long have you worked in education?

I have worked in education for seven years.

Have you held any jobs outside of education? 

Yes, I previously worked in the business sector and worked for a publishing company in the motorsport industry.  I dedicated nine years to Racer Media & Marketing and started out as an office manager and ended as an advertising manager

 What made you choose this job?  

My sister-in-law recognized I could be ideal material for becoming a counselor.  She encouraged me to apply for a position as a Career Coach so I did and loved the job within minutes!  I thought, “What have I been doing with my life?!”  I helped students with college and career readiness.  I immediately went back to school to get my Master’s degree in School Counseling. 

What is one of your favorite parts of your job?

My favorite part of being a counselor is working with students and helping them overcome barriers so they can be successful. Everyone deserves happiness and success and there can be many obstacles that get in the way of that, so I love to equip them with the tools necessary to both give the best of themselves and earn the best for themselves.   

What’s the hardest part of your job?

The hardest part of my job is to mentally shut off at the end of the working day.

Did you have any mentors or role models growing up? How did they influence you?

Both my parents are hard workers yet endured very troubled times from their late teens through to their early 40s, a period where they went down potentially self-destructive avenues. They have shown me it is possible to overcome barriers and difficulties and find a way back to the right path – which undoubtedly contributes to my belief that the work I do can help nudge students in a direction that can lead to happiness and fulfillment. As for my parents, both have qualities that I admire and try to emulate:  my mother has the biggest heart I know and loves unconditionally, while my father is ambitious and never gives up.   

Is there an experience or event that had a major influence on who or where you are today?

I was never a studious person; I actually disliked school.  I knew I had to go to college because that was what my father wanted for his children.  He never wanted us to do physical work, he wanted us to build our brains and use them in the careers we chose.  It took me 12 years to get my Bachelor’s degree; it typically takes 4-6 years.  I learned to never give up and to just keep going even when you fail or it feels like a never ending journey.   

What advice would you give your teenage self?

Pay attention in school!

Which languages do you speak?

English and Spanish/Spanglish

Do you have skills, interests or hobbies that you would like to share?

I like to hike, travel and eat.  I am interested in history and love to learn about different cultures and ways of living. 

What do you enjoy doing most with family and friends?

I love to create memories by trying new things, going to new places or spending the holidays together.

What is a goal you have?  

Although school is not my thing, I plan to finish my doctoral program within two years.

Video: 50 Questions with Ethic – Song captain chats candidly

Interviewed by MAURICIO PLIEGO

Filmed by DANIELA MORA

Directed by MAURICIO PLIEGO

Come join Ethic News as they interview Redlands East Valley High School senior Brooklynn Rios. Rios responds to questions about Associative Student Body (ASB) and song for the Redlands East Valley Wildcats. As always, Rios answers fast, controversial “this or that” questions at the end of the interview.

Wildcat girl’s tennis team celebrates Senior Day

By ALEX VERDUZCO

The Redlands East Valley High School girls’ tennis team held their annual Senior Day on Oct. 20, marking the end of their season with their last match before the Citrus Belt League Championship games. 

Senior Day posters hang on the tennis fences greeting parents, family members, and onlookers with the names of the graduating players of the Redlands East Valley girls’ tennis team on Oct. 20. This home match is against the Cajon Cowboys at the REV tennis courts. (ALEX VERDUZCO/ Ethic News Photo)

Their final score was against the Cajon High School girls’ tennis team at home totaling 15-3. With the previous score of the season away against Cajon being 16-2, securing the Wildcats’ win against Cajon for the 2022 season. 

Before the line up announcement commencing the Wildcats versus Cowboys match, Wildcat family members and parents showered their senior players with flowers, gifts, and shared with their teammates personal jokes and kind words about their daughters. 

After these private moments with their families, parents from the senior captains Abigail Washburn and Maryn Strong handed roses and took pictures of each graduating player. 

Redlands East Valley girls’ tennis senior players pose for a picture on the courts in Redlands, California before their last league match on Oct. 20. Victoria Lee, Sadie Foley, Abigail Washburn, Maryn Strong, Elliana Valentino, Coach Edward Stark.

(ALEX VERDUZCO/ Ethic News photo)

 To begin the match, parents announced their loved ones in the line up participating in their senior’s last high school league match and sending them off to play their opponents. 

With abrupt line up changes and unforeseen injuries, the Wildcats persevere and adapt with members stepping up to do their part and cover for their teammates helping to lead their senior players through their last season with sentimental memories through the winning moments, team bonding experiences, and challenging drills during practice. 

The team managers senior and sophomore duo, Thys Hallen and Brayden Yorgesen, organized Wildcats by keeping score, directing players to courts, setting up and tearing down supplies for practice and matches, and providing the players with comedic and moral support.

Redlands East Valley girls tennis team managers senior Thys Hallen and sophomore Brayden Yorgesen kept scores during the match, chatting in front of the tennis shed with previous seniors’ ‘paw prints’ ‘ painted with their names and graduation years.

(ALEX VERDUZCO/ Ethic News photo)

Washburn says,“Starting tennis my freshman year has put me on an incredible journey from starting as varsity doubles No.3 to winning the CBL championship two years in a row. Overall, it’s been an unforgettable experience and an honorable contribution to the team that I can say I have taken part of.” 

Strong says, “Tennis has been a blessing to me for the past 4 years. I’ve loved every bit of it: From the start of my freshman year to senior year I feel like I’ve grown so much in tennis. I’m so grateful for the whole experience and the friendships I’ve gotten.” 

Team captains and seniors Abigail Washburn and Maryn Strong stand under their respective posters after their 15-3 win against Cajon High. (ALEX VERDUZCO/ Ethic News photo)

Although graduation is not until June of 2023, the seniors on REV’s girls’ tennis team experience the end of their high school tennis career as a benchmark of their last year on campus.

Senior Victoria Lee says, “As much as I love the playing aspect of tennis, my favorite part would definitely be the karaoke bus rides and post-game In-N-Out runs! I wholeheartedly believe that the friendships I’ve gained over the past four years, are one that’ll carry me throughout my lifetime.”

Sadie Foley, a senior on the team says, “I joined tennis my junior year and I’m really happy I did. I had never even held a tennis racket before and so I’m grateful to [Coach] Stark for helping me get to where I am today, and I love this team for everyone supporting each other and it has been fun!”

Senior Elliana Valentino says, “I’ve had so much fun these four years playing tennis, especially this year because I got to play doubles with my sister.”

Along with the wins against Cajon, the Wildcats held onto their winning streak throughout the season despite their two losses against rival school, Redlands High. The Redlands Terriers continue holding onto their triumph year after year but the REV girls’ tennis team persists onward and moves closer in the competition to hopefully soon win the match of Wildcats v. Terriers. 

Other than the Redlands defeats, the players still reign successful in their league matches with the only losses being against the Terriers.

Coach Ed Stark adds, “If I had known at the beginning of this school year that there would have been such great obstacles and challenges I would not have expected the season to turn out as well as it did but it was made possible with such strong leadership shown from the girls and their hard work in finishing strong.”

Final League Scores of 2022

Redlands losses for REV

Home: 8-10              Away: 7-11

Beaumont wins for REV

Home: 11-7              Away:15-3

Citrus Valley wins for REV

Home: 12-6              Away: 10-8

Yucaipa wins for REV

Home: 12-6              Away: 9-9 tied in sets, Wildcats won in games 

Cajon wins for REV

Home: 15-3            Away: 16-2

Team captains Abigail Washburn and Maryn Strong share a hug underneath the Senior Day poster with the graduating players’ names after winning the match against Cajon.

(ALEX VERDUZCO/ Ethic News photo)

Dual Enrollment program offers high school students college credit

By MEANNA SMITH

The dual enrollment program offered in Redlands Unified School District high schools, which operates through Crafton Hills College, allows high school students to get college credit while also making high school credit.

Citrus Valley High School dual enrollment counselor Christina Rodriguez states, “I encourage high school juniors and seniors… to take the offered partnership and CCAP dual enrollment courses. UC and CSU colleges will weight the dual enrollment courses when considering admission to their campus. Simply put, dual enrollment makes college more affordable.”

According to the California Community Colleges website, dual enrollment offers college courses which are taught by college professors at students’ high school campuses. Each semester taken through dual enrollment will count for one year of high school credit. These courses help students get a head start on their higher education goals.

There are many different courses offered throughout the spring, summer, and fall terms. Some of the courses offered include American Sign Language, Introduction to Sociology, English Freshman Composition, Astronomy, and many more. 

Citrus Valley High School junior Danielle Diaz took the Intro to Sociology course at Crafton Hills College through the dual enrollment program last summer.

Diaz says, “It was interesting and I really learned a lot. I would definitely recommend the dual enrollment program as well as the intro to sociology course  to other students because it was an easy and beneficial way to gain credits.”

Citrus Valley junior Riley Houser, states “I took the medical terminology class through the dual enrollment program during ninth grade. It was interesting and I would recommend the program to other students.”

To enroll in dual enrollment, students must possess a weighted academic grade point average of  2.0 or more. There are three different types of dual enrollment available to students. These categories are listed as Partnership, College and Career Access Pathway, and Standard. 

Partnership dual enrollment consists of evening classes taught by Crafton Hills college professors on a high school campus. In recent years, partnership dual enrollment has moved from high school campuses to zoom instruction. 

CCAP dual enrollment is college courses offered during the school day. This type of dual enrollment is only offered to seniors. These courses will also count for high school graduation requirements. 

Lastly there is Standard dual enrollment which consists of courses not offered by Redlands Unified School district. This type of dual enrollment may also include fees that students will be responsible for such as textbook fees, registration fees, etc. 

According to the California Community Colleges website, to enroll in any of these types of dual enrollment, students must complete six steps. 

First: Complete an online college application.

Second: Complete the orientation by watching a video and answering the following questions.

Third: Submit Transcripts

Fourth: Meet with a counselor.

Fifth: Complete and submit a dual enrollment form

Sixth: Register for your desired college course.

The California Community Colleges website provides reasons for students to consider dual enrollment. Dual enrollment can provide students preparation and an introduction to college life and the opportunity to build skills that are needed in the workforce. 

Dragons compete in their first flag football tournament

By VINCENT CASTRO

“Expect the unexpected,” said senior Jordan Beccera, starting cornerback for the Orangewood High School Dragons flag football team.

For the first time in district history, according to Orangewood coach Mark Perkins, there was a flag football tournament for continuation high schools in the area.   

The games were played at the outdoor football field in Central City Park in Fontana on Oct. 26.

The Orangewood Dragons were coached by Perkins and Orangewood engineering teacher Matthew Stewart. 

“I was very proud of how the athletes participated and I couldn’t have done it without Mr. Stewart,” said Perkins.

In the game of flag football, it is a seven on seven. Each game is four quarters long and each quarter is 15 minutes long.  Each school that attends the tournament is guaranteed three games.  The three games are to consider where they stand in the bracket for playoffs. 

The Orangewood flag football team went into the tournament with only five weeks of practice. Practices were held everyday at lunch on the soccer field.

The Dragons played their first game against Birch High School from Fontana. When going against Birch, Orangewood never let go of the lead and proceeded to win the game 27-14.

“Winning feels better when it’s earned,” said senior Samuel Bahena, starting rusher. 

The second game of the tournament for the Dragons was against Sierra High School from San Bernardino. The Dragons lost to Sierra 26-12.  

Orangewood had a third game against Slover and took the win 30-16, sending them to the championship game against Sierra. 

In the championship game it was a back and forth between touchdowns until Orangewood got intercepted and scored on, losing the game by four, 28-24.  

“We failed, but we will be back,” said junior Jeremy Zaragoza, starting wide receiver. 

The Orangewood High School flag football team with coaches Matthew Stewart (top left) and Mark Perkins (top right). “We are not a team because we work together, we are a team because we work and respect each other,” said junior Jesus Arana, defensive captain. (Photo courtesy of Orangewood High School principal Carli Norris)

Correction: The original posting of this article stated two weeks of practice. It has been corrected to state five weeks of practice. Nov. 18, 2022 6:30 pm.

Video: Skills USA students from Orangewood visit Redlands Animal Shelter

By JUSTEN NGUYEN

Participating students from Stephen Plumb’s SkillsUSA class went to the Redlands Animal Shelter on Oct. 27. Students were taken on a tour around the facility and donated dog and cat toys to the animal shelter.

Animal control officer Kaitlyn Giroux answers questions about animals at Redlands Animal Shelter. Video recorded by Ethan Bounthavy, interview and video editing by Justen Nguyen.

Redlands High School Terriers win the 25th annual Smudge Pot

By AILEEN JANEE CORPUS

The annual Redlands Smudge Pot took place on Oct. 20, which ended with the Terriers taking back the Smudge Pot trophy. 

During the first quarter, the Wildcats had the first score of the game which was a touchdown but a missed kick with one minute and 57 seconds left. Being the only score of the quarter, it ended with a score of 6-0 with the Wildcats in the lead. 

By nine minutes and 37 seconds left of the second quarter, Redlands High School’s first score of the game occurred; a touchdown and successful kick. Ending this quarter with a score of 6-7 with the Terriers in the lead.

Throughout the game, cheers and jeers could be heard from both the Wildcats and Terriers. When it was the third quarter and the Terriers were leading by a point, the student section for RHS, the Boneyard, cheered “Why so quiet?”

Once with 10 minutes and three seconds and the second occurring with nine minutes and 48 seconds left in the third quarter, there were two false alarms that the REV had scored a touchdown. Just five seconds later, there was an attempted touchdown by the Wildcats, but the Terriers intercepted the Wildcats’ pass.

In the third quarter with two minutes and four seconds left, REV scored a touchdown and instead of going for a kick, the Wildcats attempted another touchdown to no avail. This ended the third quarter with a score of 12-7 with the Wildcats in the lead.

In the fourth quarter, the pace quickly picked up with the Wildcats scoring a touchdown and kicking successfully. Then with the Terriers simply scoring a touchdown making the score 19-13 with the Wildcats holding on to the lead. 

With barely two minutes left on the clock of the fourth quarter, RHS managed to score a touchdown and a kick garnering them seven points which put them in the lead by only one point. After getting one down and with only twenty seconds left, the Wildcats unfortunately were not able to make up for the loss, leading the Terriers to win the 25th annual Smudge Pot. 

The final score of the game was 19-20 with the Redlands High School Terriers winning the 25th annual Smudge Pot game.

On Oct. 20 2022 for the annual Redlands Smudge Pot, Wildcat cheerleaders lined up along the sideline for the national anthem. The Wildcat cheerleaders helped in keeping student motivation up throughout the game. For this Smudge Pot game, REV was the home team, but because of the continued construction on the Wildcat stadium, home games for the Wildcats’ 2022-2023 year of football were held at Citrus Valley High School. (AILEEN JANEE CORPUS/Ethic News Photo)
Before the annual Redlands Smudge Pot started on Oct. 20 2022, the Wildcat cheerleaders hold a sign that says, “Hey Terriers better luck next time #smudgepotstays[home].” Immediately afterwards, the varsity Wildcat football team ran through the sign passionately and ready to take the Terriers on in the infamous rivalry. (AILEEN JANEE CORPUS/Ethic News Photo)
The Wildcats varsity football team celebrates their first score of the game on Oct. 20, 2022 for the Redlands annual Smudge Pot game held in the Ted Runner Stadium at Citrus Valley High School. (AILEEN JANEE CORPUS/Ethic News Photo)
Wildcat senior Carissa Perez is performing a solo on her clarinet during the Wildcats’ marching band performance for the halftime show of the annual Redlands Smudge Pot game on Oct. 20 2022. For the halftime show of the Smudge Pot game, the Wildcat marching band performed all three parts of their program for the crowd. (AILEEN JANEE CORPUS/Ethic News Photo)
The Wildcat song team performed for the halftime show of the annual Redlands Smudge Pot game on Oct. 20, 2022. Unlike cheerleaders, song leaders focus more on hip hop, jazz, and more dance aspects of performance. (AILEEN JANEE CORPUS/Ethic News Photo)

On Oct. 20, 2022 in the Citrus Valley High School Stadium at the end of the annual Redlands Smudge Pot game, the Redlands High School Terriers triumphantly take the smudge pot trophy back to the crowd full of Terrier fans. (AILEEN JANEE CORPUS/Ethic News Photo)

Video: 50 Questions with Ethic –  Wildcat board of education trustee chats candidly

Interviewed by MAURICIO PLIEGO

Filmed by DANIELA MORA

Directed by MAURICIO PLIEGO

Come join Ethic News as they interview Redlands East Valley High School senior Frankie Russo. Russo responds to questions including about what her usual school day looks like and who inspires her the most. As always, Russo answers fast, controversial “this or that” questions at the end of the interview.

Opinion: Schools aren’t helping students in the most important way, adulting

By JADE BURCH

Let’s face it, school feels very out of touch with the outside world. The education system seems to think extensive algebra takes priority over skills that are important as an adult. As a senior, you may wander out into the world with only your high school education and wonder: “What now? How do I apply for housing? What even are taxes?” But you know about integers and variables if you managed to pay attention in class. 

Life Skills classes are essential, and should be a mandatory course. Assistance after high school and school resources should be available and should be regularly emphasized to students. Curriculum can be outdated at times and if adjustments aren’t made, students won’t be the only ones affected.

Even if you get a Life Skills class in your schedule as an elective, the information is either too general or too specific. Students feel like it doesn’t apply to them, so they’re not engaged.  We need a mixture of fixed and flexible curriculum that adapts to students.

Andy Simmons, a senior at Orangewood High School, says, “I feel current life skills classes are necessary, but they’re not well executed. The curriculum isn’t solid and the information is too specific to apply to students.”  

Matthew Stewart, a Career Technical Education teacher at Orangewood, expresses his frustration with the curriculum and its coverage on economics and business. 

“You get taught theories of the economic system, not where the money goes or how it works. Schools fail to teach you the basic economics of life,” said Stewart. “Current classes miss the mark, they teach you to be an employee for the rest of your life without moving up.” 

There are different opinions on what curriculum should be in the classes. 

“Helping students prepare for a more specific career path, taxes, how to buy a car are good ones,” Simmons says. “They need to teach students how to be eligible for an apartment. They also need  child development education since it’s required for a lot of jobs.” 

Stewart adds, “They should be teaching you guys what bare minimum is to survive financially and socially. Other things like the basics of banking and credit along with home and vehicle maintenance would be very useful as well.” 

Staff have noted that the class should also teach social concepts to students, such as things they wished they learned earlier in life. 

Stewart gives examples such as, “How to engage people in a civil manner and having an open mind. You need to understand your position in society and either be happy with it or change it.” 

Jason Knight, a counselor at Orangewood, adds, “I wish I learned about finances and using business technology, like Email and Word. Being able to read official documents like paystubs, tax forms, and contracts saves you a lot of trouble.”

Stewart also notes the need for students to find other goals in life, emphasizing life isn’t all about money or success. 

The question is, how do we keep students engaged? Most students will go straight into the workforce with their high school education and nothing else. They won’t learn any other life skills that high school relies on college to teach. Students may feel what is being taught doesn’t apply to them because they aren’t going to college. 

“We need to make sure students know that they will encounter the scenarios that are taught in a life skills class no matter what,” says Knight.

School staff also feel that students need different services or classes. Field trips to help students get jobs, apply to colleges, and apply for other government services would be extremely useful. Even after high school, students who are on their own as new adults are lost and may need additional help programs.  

“Students need more assistance with post high school situations,” said Knight. 

Knight goes on to say that Career Centers are a great resource that goes unnoticed by students. They typically provide information about scholarships, financial aid, job opportunities, and college exploration. There are also other resources online that could aid students, but none of these things are stressed to students. So, these resources will continue to be overlooked unless staff worry less about academic classes and more about relevant skills. 

If changes aren’t made, students will continue to go into society unprepared and knowledgeable of how the world functions. They will be easily taken advantage of by other members of society, creating a generation of people that don’t know their options. This isn’t just for the benefit of newly graduated students, this is for the benefit of our future society.

Orangewood boys softball team works hard and plays hard

By BRIANNA SHIRLEY and VINCENT CASTRO 

“Work hard, play hard and you will succeed,” says junior Jeremy Zaragoza, who plays left field for the Orangewood High School boys softball team. 

The Orangewood Dragons took their fourth win of the season at home against Citrus High School on Friday, Sept. 30.  The Dragons were down in the second inning by ten runs.  They ended up overcoming and scored a consistent 19 runs against Citrus.  The Dragons upset Citrus with a score of 19-16.

The Dragons took their fifth win against the undefeated team from Sierra High School on Wednesday, Oct. 6.  The Dragons took the lead in the first inning going up 5-0. The game ended with a Dragon victory with a score of 13-10.

If you ask the players on the team what’s the secret to their success, they talk about their close-knit team.

“We are not a team because we work together, we are a team because we respect, trust, and care for eachother,” says Orangewood junior Jesus Arana, who plays center left field.  

“Even though we may argue and yell at each other, we are still a good team and we are close like family,” says Orangewood senior Nick Boiarski, who plays right field. 

“We play as one and we win as one,” senior Samuel Bahena, who plays pitcher.  

According to Orangewood senior Alex Sanchez,  “We the best team in years.”

The Orangewood team played Glen View High School and went head to head till Glen View hit a walk-off double to seal the game 19-18 giving Orangewood a loss.

Orangewood boys softball team made it to the playoffs this season. They played against Val Verde and was devastated 18-6 being first round exits.

Senior Andrew Gonzalez, senior Sol Ramirez and junior Jeremy Zaragoza jog off the Orangewood High School softball field. This was after the second inning the boys were coming in from getting three straight outs against Slover high school on Sept. 14. (Brianna Shirley/ Ethic News photo)

Orangewood High School seniors Alex Sanchez, Jose Hernandez and Nicholas Boilarski celebrate taking a win against Citrus High School on Sept. 30. (Brianna Shirley/ Ethic News photo)

Pictured from left to right: Orangewood High School Senior Ivan Navarro, senior Sol Ramirez, senior David Garcia, senior Victor Garcia, senior Axel Gonzalez, senior Samuel Bahena, senior Andrew Gonzalez, junior Jesus Arana, senior Nicholas Boiarski, senior Jose Hernandez, senior Alex Sanchez, and junior Chase Bass. The team watches the Dragon girls softball team compete at Orangewood High School. (Ethic news photo)

Pictured from left to right: Senior Adrian Marroquin, senior Jose Hernandez, senior Giovanni Galvan, senior and team manager Jennifer Castro, senior Axel Gonzalez, senior David Garcia, senior Vincent Castro, senior Alex Sanchez, senior Azariah Williams, junior Jeremy Zaragoza, senior Sol Ramirez, junior Chase Bass, senior Jack Bryan, senior Andrew Rosas, senior Nicholas Boiarski, and coach Mark Perkins. The team took a win against Slover High School on Sept. 14. (Brianna Shirley/ Ethic News photo)

Q&A: Chats with Orangewood custodial and cafeteria staff

By MATTHEW MENDES, JUSTEN NGUYEN and JOSHUA ZARATAIN

This feature does not focus on one single person at Orangewood High School, but  three: Alfred Cabral, Mynel Shelton, and Cynthia Duran. Cabral and Shelton do the custodial work and Duran does the cafeteria work. They are staff workers who don’t get as much recognition due to the jobs they do around campus, but they deserve recognition because without them the Orangewood campus wouldn’t be what it is. All of three work hard to make Orangewood a positive place for everyone.

Mynel Shelton, custodian

Mynel Shelton, custodian at Orangewood High School, stands in front of a water fall garden on the Orangewood campus, an area staff and students find peaceful. Shelton is known for being friendly and conversational with anyone he meets. (MATTHEW MENDES/ Ethic News photo)

“A lot of people say they want peace, but they don’t do the things to make peace. Just say you’re sorry and move on.”

Mynel Shelton, custodian at Orangewood High School

Matthew Mendes: What inspired you to become the person you are today?

Mynel Shelton: Initially I wanted to start working for the district. They had many departments. It was something I wanted to do. So, I applied and tested. A lot of the people that were working there were working as custodians. So naturally, I tried the position out. Working as a custodian started off as embarrassing, but it soon became very fulfilling for me. You get to know all kinds of people, students and staff. I am truly blessed working here.

Mendes: How long have you been working here and why did you choose Orangewood?

Shelton: In custodial work, the school typically chooses who they want to work there. I was selected by Orangewood to work, and accepted the position. I soon grew to love it here.

Mendes: What do you like to do in your spare time?

Shelton: Karaoke, racquetball, and chess are some of my passions in life.

Mendes: If you could have any car with money not being an issue, what car would you choose?

Shelton: I would go for an electric truck, from Rivian. Gas is too high nowadays.

Cynthia Duran, child nutrition services worker

Cynthia Duran is the child nutrition services worker that students see in the cafeteria daily for breakfast, snack and lunch at Orangewood High School. Students call her Ms. Cindy and describe her as “sweet,” “chill,” and “kind.” Orangewood custodian Mynel Shelton says that they also call her Cinderella. (Joshua Zatarain/ Ethic News photo)

“Just be kind.”

– Cynthia Duran, child nutrition services worker at Orangewood High School

Josh ZatarainWhat inspired you to become the person you are today?

Cythnia Duran: My love for kids of all ages, as I used to be a daycare teacher for many years.

Zatarain: How long have you been working here and why did you choose Orangewood?

Duran: I was assigned to Orangewood and have been here for six yearsWhen I was first assigned I didn’t want to come here but of course that changed and now I won’t leave Orangewood.

Zatarain: What do you like to do during your spare time?

Duran: I like to watch movies, read comedies. I like romance and my favorite movie is “Sleepless in Seattle.”

Zatarain: If you could have any car, with money not being an issue, what car would it be?

Duran: I would like a palisade SUV because I like SUVs.

Alfred Cabral, lead custodian

Alfred Cabral, lead custodian at Orangewood High School, stands in front of a student artwork of the school mascot. Students describe Cabral as friendly and hard-working. From before school to after school students see Cabral around campus helping people and working to keep the campus looking its best. (Justen Nguyen/ Ethic News photo)

“Enjoy it like it is because time flies fast.”

– Alfred Cabral, lead custodian at Orangewood High School

Justen Nguyen:  What inspired you to become the person you are today?

Alfred Cabral: My dad and his work ethic

Nguyen: What do you like to do in your spare time?

Cabral: I play the drums, when I was younger I played basketball, and I am also a concrete contractor.

Nguyen: How long have you been working here and why did you choose Orangewood?

Cabral: 11 years at Orangewood, because I wanted to work days instead of nights at RHS.

Nguyen: If you could have any car with money not being an issue, what car would you have?

Cabral: A Ferrari because when I was younger I had a poster of a Ferrari in my room.

Orangewood High School custodian Mynel Shelton, nutrition worker Cynthia Duran and custodian Alfred Cabral stand at the entrance of Orangewood on Texas St. in Redlands. (Matthew Mendes/ Ethic News photo)

Opinion: An open letter to all the quiet kids who need a club

By SORA REYNOLDS

If you’re a quiet kid and need a club, you should keep reading.

I have always been one of the quiet kids.

I know how hard it is to be alone without any friends. So, maybe a club might help quiet kids like us get more friends and not be as quiet.

Some kids like to stay quiet, and that’s okay, but maybe if there were more clubs available, people might socialize better.  

Some of us are so quiet that it’s hard to make friends. But if we were around more people we had things in common with, it might make it easier.

So, if you’re in need of a club, I have some ideas. The clubs that are stated in this letter, are clubs that aren’t here yet, but should get added. If or when they do get added and you’re interested in joining, I think you should go ahead.

I’m interested in joining an LGBTQ+ and band club if they’re added.

Many people are part of the LGBTQ+ community at our school, but some are quiet kids. I myself am one of them. And I know there are others that are quiet, too. I think that if there was an LGBTQ+ club, more kids that are part of the community could socialize with each other more.

But it’s not only an LGBTQ+ club that might help quiet kids socialize more. Other clubs for people with things in common might help too.

Clubs could bring people that are alike together.

I think that a club for band people would be a good idea. If there was a club for band people, they could practice and arrange for there to be an assembly so they could play in front of the school. And maybe sometimes they could play during lunch.

But, while I may be interested in an LGBTQ+ or band club, you may disagree or even be interested in a different type of club. I got some feedback from students and they had different opinions on what clubs should or shouldn’t be made.

Some people didn’t like the idea of an LGBTQ+ club because they felt it discriminates against straight people. Others felt that LGBTQ+ clubs were okay so that people could be more comfortable with each other, express their feelings and talk to like-minded people without the fear of being made fun of.  

Some felt there shouldn’t be a band club because it would be too loud, but others felt that a band, car, or bike club would be okay.

Maybe we could have all those clubs.

All in all, what I’ve been trying to say in this letter is that, if you’re a quiet kid who needs a club, as I do, join the club! We’d be glad to have you.

Citrus Valley Homecoming ‘lights’ up the night

By CITRUS VALLEY ETHIC STAFF

Citrus Valley High School had their 2022 Homecoming dance on Sep.17 on campus. According to a video posted by the Citrus Valley Associated Student Body (ASB)  class on instagram, it was their “best one yet.” The event had many activities like pool tables, a photo booth, a 360 camera, casino-style game tables, and a fro-yo truck. 

ASB stuck to their word, as there was a DJ set up with screens, lasers, fog, and music to fit the theme of the night, “All of the Lights.” The dance floor was set up in front of the E-builidng in the center of the quad. A stage set up housed the DJ with five different screens, numerous laser beams aiming in all different directions, colorful spotlights, disco balls and fog machines. These special effects combined were able to transform a normal lunch area into an unrecognizable dance floor. 

This year’s homecoming dance offered a few different options of sweet treats and finger food for all students, included in the price of the dance ticket. A frozen yogurt truck offered free, and technically unlimited, frozen yogurt in four different flavors: vanilla, chocolate, cookies and cream and strawberry along with both fruit and candy toppings. Other food items included french fries and hot grilled cheese sandwiches, which provided students with some vegetarian options. 

Elysa Lebig, Citrus Valley junior, said that “everything except the french fries was good, but not worth the $75 ticket.” 

The majority of attendees enjoyed the fro-yo truck and food stands despite the long lines.

The line was long for the 360 camera, but Citrus Valley Senior Brooklyn Timm said “it was awesome” and rated it a “10/10.”

The photo booth also had a long line and Citrus Valley Senior Lily Florez enjoyed the picture quality. 

Florez also preferred the digital version “so [she] wouldn’t have to hold the physical copy of it.”

Although some students preferred the physical photos, they were still enjoyed and popular among attendees.

The commonly used game tables reappeared at this year’s Homecoming. The game tables at this year’s dance included pool, blackjack and poker. Even though there were many more tables at this year’s dance in comparison to last year, they were still packed with students who were both eager to play and eager to learn.

Hailey Barrios, Citrus Valley freshman, said, “It was very fun, very fun!”

Featured image: Citrus Valley presented their 2022 homecoming ‘All of the Lights’ on Sept. 17, 2022. (MIA CALIVA/ Ethic News Photo)

Teacher Feature Q&A: Karen Knudson Wilson welcomes students to Orangewood

By STEPHANIE ELENA PEREZ

Karen Knudson Wilson, is a teacher at Orangewood High School. She teaches American Government and OASIS. OASIS stands for Orientation, Assessment, Study Skills, Insight, Success. Every student who attends Orangewood, starts by taking the OASIS class for three weeks with Wilson and Stephanie Sachs, Foods and OASIS teacher. OASIS is an introduction class where students learn about the school, themselves and each other. For example, Wilson guides students through writing an essay about themselves, such as where they grew up, the school they came from and other topics. Students see Wilson as a caring teacher, and OASIS teachers as the “moms” of new students at Orangewood.

Wilson answer questions about her teaching career, interests, and people who influenced her.

How many years have you been teaching?

Wilson: I have been teaching for 14 years. Prior to teaching I was a school administrator and counselor. 

If you were able to choose a different career path would you still choose to teach or would you choose something else?

I really love being a teacher. Knowing I have a positive impact on young people means so much to me. I’d very likely choose being an educator all over again, even though I had the chance to go to law school.

Have you had a different job besides teaching?

Yes! I started out my career as an elementary school counselor and was then promoted into school administration overseeing counseling and intervention programs for a neighboring school district. When I became a mom I took some time off and returned to education (as a teacher) so I could be on the same schedule as my children.

What do you enjoy about being able to teach students?

I love the day to day fun teaching brings. Everyday is different, and it’s definitely never dull. What I enjoy most about educating students is helping them realize the decisions they make today will impact their future. 

What made you want to teach?  

I grew up with a mom who worked in public education for over 30 years. Seeing the impact she made on kids made me want to have a career with a purpose like that, too.

Did you have role models growing up? 

My parents were amazing role models. My dad served in the military, went to school at night, coached little league and still managed to make time for his family everyday. My mom took care of all of us and always made time to take us to practice, our games and the events with our friends. 

If so how were you influenced by them?

The best thing they did for me and my brothers is give us their time. It really shaped who I became as a person and a parent myself.

If you could, what advice would you give students?

Put down your cell phones. Try not to spend so much time watching everyone else’s life go by that you forget to live your own.

If you could travel anywhere in the world where would it be and why?

I love, love, love to travel and have been fortunate enough to visit many places around the world. I’d really like to make it to Bali and Greece someday…places by the water make me very happy. I also like to experience different cultures and foods.

Do you speak another language? If so what language do you speak and if you don’t, what language would you like to learn?

I know a little bit of Spanish and some ASL. I really wish I knew more!

What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t teaching? Do you have hobbies, interests?

When I’m not teaching I love to travel, read, cook and spend time with my family.

Do you have any goals you’d like to accomplish?

I would really like to move home closer to my parents. I’d also like to live by the beach someday and retire when there’s still plenty of time left to play and enjoy my life.

Is there something you would want people to know about you?

Playing little league baseball growing up and softball in high school led to a wonderful opportunity for me to attend college – I was the first person in my family to graduate.

Soul Food Fest unites students and Redlands community with Black culture

By MEANNA SMITH

Stronger Together Now, a community outreach organization, hosted their second Soul Food Fest on Sept. 11 at Ed Hales Park in Downtown Redlands. This event was sponsored by Chase Bank.

Stronger Together Now, the organizers of the event, set up a booth with an inspiring promotional banner advocating against racism and other prejudices. At this booth, t-shirts and tote bags could be purchased and a donation jar was available for people who would like to see more events like this in the Redlands  community.  (Ethic News photo)

This festival gives many Black owned businesses and organizations a chance to showcase their products or services. This festival was also a great way for the Black community to be recognized in the city of Redlands. The Soul Food Fest gave the local high school club Black Student Union a chance to connect with each other while also connecting with the community and its citizens.

Showcasing a game booth table with cup stacking and cards, various Redlands Unified School District Black Student Union members work together at the Soul Food Festival on Sept. 11. Students from Redlands, Redlands East Valley, Citrus Valley and Orangewood High Schools were present at the event.  (Photo courtesy of Quinkitha O’Neal)

Some of the businesses that were present during the festival were House of Purvian Cookie, Brooklyn’s Bakery Bites, Delviccio’s BBQ SmokeHouse, Asdelina’s Agua Frescas, and most popularly known, The WingMan. Citrus Valley, Redlands, Redlands East Valley and Orangewood High Schools all had BSU clubs present at the festival. 

The House of Peruvian Cookie at the Soul Food Festival was a popular choice among the many food booths, selling many desserts and cookies. The House of Peruvian Cookie is mainly located in Santa Clarita and is a cookie selling business based on Peruvian desserts. (Kevin Kambey/Ethic News photo)

Andrew Simmons, senior from Orangewood High School’s BSU, said, “ I really enjoyed seeing other schools’ Black Student Unions and helping all the different booths set up.”  

Jazz Daughtrey, a junior at Citrus Valley High School, attended the festival with the Citrus Valley’s BSU and said she loved “the soul food fest and seeing the Black culture.” 

“The food was amazing and I love how welcoming the other Redlands BSU clubs were,” said Daughtrey.

Another member of Citrus Valley’s BSU, sophomore Kalaya Felton, stated, “The shirts that people were selling were so beautiful and everything was so well put together. The soul food festival was just overall awesome.”

Various activities were available to participate in during the festival. These activities included spades and dominos contests, music, and food competitions. The food competition consists of three different categories: best main dish, best side dish, and best dessert. 

The award for best main dish was given to The WingMan with his lemon pepper wings, the winner for best side dish was Papa’s BBQ for their mac n cheese, and lastly the winner for best dessert was Still Standn Barbq with their famous banana pudding. 

The winners of the competition were awarded a certificate of appreciation as well as an additional prize. Spades and dominos winners were awarded a customized domino or card set. 

While the judges were tasting food from all the different food competition competitors, Kologbo Daughtrey gave a live performance on his soprano saxophone. He played a variety of songs including “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers. 

The Soul Food Festival had a mission of bringing the Black community and all people in Redlands together to bond and unite as one. 

Redlands citizen Kaylee Doll, junior at Citrus Valley, stated, “I think the Soul Food Festival was really a pure, safe, and fun environment and it was a great way to spend my Sunday afternoon.” 

News brief: Redlands East Valley High School’s Mental Health Awareness Club holds a suicide prevention event

By AILEEN JANEE CORPUS

The Redlands East Valley High School Mental Health Awareness Club held a suicide prevention event during lunch on Thursday Sept. 8, 2022.

The booth was held in observance of National Suicide Prevention Week which is from Sept. 4 to Sept. 10. 

“I think that it’s good that more people are talking about mental health and the stigma around it,” said sophomore Eliana Campa, “So, the booth was really cool because people were able to talk about what mental health is and why it’s important.”

At the booth, there were pins with green ribbons for mental health awareness, candy for students, and a positive affirmation station. There students were able to write positive anecdotes on notes or on a poster that will be hung up at REV. Finally, an interactive mental health check was available where students could have placed a paint dot for how they were doing in a certain section. 

“I was in charge of the positive affirmation notes,” said Mental Health Awareness Club Vice President and senior Amélie Palacios, “and I saw that many students were more than happy to leave a kind note for a student that would need it in the future.”

“[Mental Health Awareness Club’s] goal is to provide a safe space to learn, talk and listen to each other,” said Mental Health Awareness Club President and senior Sarinna Schwendiman. 

Mental Health Awareness Club’s next event is their annual Mental Health Fair where multiple clubs from REV and organizations from the county hold educational booths with games, giveaways or resources. 

On Sept. 8, 2022 during lunch time, Wildcats came by the Mental Health Awareness Club’s booth dedicated to suicide prevention. There were many activities at the booth including an interactive mental health check and a positive affirmation station. Among the Wildcats, sophomore Eliana Campa picks up a pin and reads the table cover which shows that National Suicide Prevention Week and a crisis hotline: 988. (Credit / Amélie Palacios)

Q&A: New Wildcat theatre teacher talks perfectionism, plays and ‘Pride and Prejudice’

By KENDRA BURDICK

Starting in the 2022-23 school year, Ashley Visco is teaching at Redlands East Valley High School for her first year. She will be teaching Theatre Arts I and II. (Photo courtesy of  Ashley Visco)

Ashley Visco is a new teacher to Redlands East Valley High School staff. Visco teaches Theater Arts I and Theater Arts II and tries to make a colorful and inspiring learning environment for her students. Visco answers some questions about herself and her career below. 

Why did you choose this course to teach?

I loved theater forever. For as long as I can remember I was raised on it, a bit because when my dad was in high school he was heavily involved in theater. My sisters all loved musicals and things like that so I kinda grew up with a lot of plays and musical performances. Stories in general, I loved. I volunteered at my former high school Pomona Catholic High School, I volunteered for their theater program, helping out with their productions. I was working with the kids and I was like, I could teach this, it’d be fun and I’d enjoy doing it. But I didn’t know if I’d have the opportunity to teach a drama class, I’d always thought I’d go for English, so when this came up “Hey do you want to be our drama teacher?” I said “Yeah! I do.” I love this and it’s been really fun.

Did you teach at any other schools before REV?

This is my first teaching position and I did student teach at Upland High School and that is about it. Only Redlands so far.

 Why did you choose to teach at REV?

For sure I am really happy with REV and Redlands in general, Redlands Unified. I’ve had the opportunity to teach before this. I finished my program two years ago to work at charter schools and different things but I felt “It just doesn’t feel like a good fit.” Other schools just didn’t feel organized and it didn’t seem like they were prioritizing the kids. I almost worked at an arts high school which had a lot of theater kids coming in, but it still wasn’t the right fit for me. I got hired to do summer school for Redlands and I just really liked the district. Everyone was so nice and professional. Then this school interviewed me and was very nice and I hoped that I got the job. Everyone I’ve met has been so nice and lovely and the campus is big and beautiful and has this big, beautiful theater. My high school’s theater was like one-twentieth [the size of] of REV’s. 

 Why did you choose to become a teacher?

I talked to my English teacher saying “Hey, I want to be a writer.” Things changed with college. I was majoring in English and it didn’t feel purposeful enough, it didn’t feel like I was doing anything. It was like “what’s the point, what am I here for.” When I volunteered with those kids I thought it felt important. So I tried teaching because I liked working with young people and doing something that could matter. 

What would you be if you could have been anything other than a teacher?

I wanted to be a writer for a long time. I was very book obsessed and still am but my brain gets tired so unfortunately I haven’t sat down and read a good book in a while. I thought I’d be a writer because I love historical romance, Pride and Prejudice, and things like that. I wrote Pride and Prejudice fan-fiction back in the day. 

What’s important to you?

Respect is huge for me. Confidence is also very important because I like working with younger people and helping them find who they want to be. Especially because we all can remember what it’s like being at this time in your life (high school) its really difficult and you need those people who support you and build you up and being that person to students is important to me. Respect and love are all around for everybody. That’s something that I love about this theater department. “I can do anything and I’ve got people from different parts of theater that can come in here and try something new.” It’s an exciting position and I’d say that the most important thing is respect and love for everybody.

What’s something that you would like to tell students?

Focus on yourself. I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately cause it’s easy to get stuck in the day and your schedule and you try to get through it with your friends but it can get frustrating and it’s good to remember to focus on yourself and your needs. Especially with school, get done what you need to get done and you might not know where you’re going necessarily but that’s okay as long as in the moment, they are happy, healthy, and surrounded by people that are good for you.

What college did you go to?

I started at the University of La Verne right after I graduated from high school but my mental health started to slip a little bit to where I was struggling and I just wasn’t happy and finally I was struggling too. So I decided “Let’s take a break.” I worked and matured and tried to figure out what I wanted to do, that’s when I volunteered. I was like “Teaching sounds good. I worked with kids at the theater program and loved it.” So I went online and went to Grand Canyon University which is a cool program and I highly recommend that people decide if they want to go to college in person or not in person. I was struggling with the anxiety of being in college and being with all of those people and I realized that online works better for me. I got a Bachelor of Arts in English for secondary education, specifically for teaching English. 

What’s the biggest thing that you welcome into your classroom?

The bravery to try new things is huge and even if it’s the smallest thing. You don’t have to be “look at me” but if normally you’re kinda shy and you step out of your shell and do some of the exercises and games we play. The courage to do something silly is really important. Another thing I’ve been thinking about is that there’s so much shyness I think and the awkwardness of standing out in high school which I understand. Something that I value and appreciate is seeing someone willing to just do something as opposed to having the fear of standing out.

Who got you to where you are now?

My parents in the sense that they helped me get through a lot of school just by being very accepting and supportive. There was never too much pressure or too little pressure. They were like “Hey, we know you’re smart and do your best.” I didn’t struggle with school because of that so I appreciate that they were like that. I had an English teacher who was also the drama director at my high school. She was wild and wacky and we had a lot in common. We’d talk about Pride and Prejudice. We’d go out to Cal Poly Pomona and do Shakespearean competitions, we’d perform in front of people for prizes and stuff. My fiance has been super supportive, he’s somebody who helps you be yourself, to find out who you are and what you need. Finally, me. I helped myself get here and I don’t think I give myself credit enough which is something that I’m trying to work on cause I’ve worked hard and it’s difficult to look at yourself and say “You’re doing great right now.” I constantly think about what I did wrong and what I could do better. But it’s like “No. I’m doing great and I worked hard.” 

What is something that you’ve had to change about yourself to fit the job?

Perfectionism is deadly and I lived with it throughout my life. I didn’t realize it until I got older. There’s a part of you as a teacher, I found, that feels responsible for everything. I think that’s why some students see teachers as controlling because there’s a part of you (as a teacher) that makes you feel like it’s all your fault. If it’s not going well, you have to fix it. If a lesson didn’t go well it’s like “Oh my god, I’m the worst.” With cheating, I try to figure out what I did wrong and try to give the students a second chance. I’ve learned I need to just step back and realize that people make their choices. Everybody does what they do, naturally, you can’t step in and try to change it cause you’d be controlling them saying “Hey this, hey this.” Sometimes you’ve got to step back and let them make their choice and if their choice is to not do well in the class then it’s not my fault. If I did everything that I could do, it’s not my fault.

What is the main goal you want to see your students achieve?

Confidence is an important goal I want to see my students achieve. I want them to have enough confidence in themselves to be like “Hey, I can do this and it’s going to be okay.” My ultimate goal is to have them try acting, try to get up on the stage and use their voices. Acting did that for me, it built my confidence like now I can give back the wrong order and talk to people on the phone. Exploring is also a big thing. That’s why I picked the fall play that I did, cause I want them to explore different things from every culture and variety.

News brief: Orangewood High School hosts first Black Student Union meeting of the year

By DIAMOND STONE

Orangewood High School hosted their first Black Student Union meeting this year on Aug.31 at lunch.  

The staff who attended the meeting were Orangewood AVID Coordinator and teacher LouAnn Perry, Family and Community Liaison and BSU advisor LaRena Garcia and Orangewood teacher and BSU advisor Vanessa Aranda.  

There were around 35 students and pizza was provided for all the kids that attended.

“The meeting was an introduction about BSU and it was also enjoyable and entertaining,” said Orangewood senior Blessen Thomas. 

At the meeting they talked about upcoming events like the Soul Food Fest on Sept. 11 at Ed Hales Park and the Historical Black College and University Fair.

“This was a good time and it was for students who wanted to join BSU. It’s a new club at Orangewood,” said Orangewood senior Anniyah Allison.

News brief: Citrus Valley High School hosts Club Rush

By ETHIC NEWS STAFF

Citrus Valley’s annual club rush took place on Aug. 26, 2022. Club rush is when most of the CV clubs gather together in CV’s quad to give out information about their club. This is especially helpful for incoming freshmen who want to join a club but don’t exactly know what their new school has to offer.

Club Rush was held in the quad during lunch. Some of the popular clubs at club rush included Blackhawks for Change, Asian student union, Cars and Coffee, Auto Shop, Black Student Union, Multicultural Dance, Possibilities, Hispanic Heritage, and Interact club.

In total, thirty-four Citrus Valley Clubs attended club rush. Club rush gives many students the opportunity to join a club, socialize, and to develop many skills that the clubs at Citrus Valley offer to students.

The multitude of clubs gave many options to this year’s arriving freshman.

Freshman Karla Ziga Ortega said, “I’m looking to join the Hispanic Heritage club because I love my Mexican pride and supporting people, and I’m already in Yearbook, but it would be nice to see everyone coming together and to unite.”

Freshman Ellie Caliva said, “I want to join the Asian Student Union.” The Asian Student Union is a very popular club at CV that celebrates many aspects of Asian culture.

Club Rush was considered a success by many freshmen, including Caliva, who said that “It was good, I had fun,” and Ortega, who said that she “[liked] all the free stuff, [everything] looked good. I don’t know if I can commit to everything but I’ll try to join at least one club.”

Photo 1: Students gather around the Black Student Union tent to learn more about the club. (ELIZABETH MOLLOY/ Ethic News Photo)

Photo 2: Students flood the quad during lunch time, walking around with friends and peers as they learn about the clubs at Citrus Valley. (ELIZABETH MOLLOY/ Ethic News Photo)

Photo 3: Students stop by the Environmental Club table to learn about the club. (ELIZABETH MOLLOY/ Ethic News Photo)

Photo 4: Amber Sibbett, a sophomore at CV, passes out flyers to by passers reeling people in to join the Improv club on campus. (ELIZABETH MOLLOY/ Ethic News Photo)

Photo 5: Trevor Lam, a junior at CV poses for a picture holding up a sign advertising for the Asian Student Union (ASU) at club rush (ELIZABETH MOLLOY/ Ethic News Photo)

News brief: Redlands East Valley kicks off the year

By MAURICIO PLIEGO, ALEXANDRA VERDUZCO and GEFFREY ACOSTA

The Associative Student Body, opened up the new school year for students at Redlands East Valley High School with a rally in the Wildcat Gym on August 19. Senior Pep Commissioners Emma Guerrero, Seth Bruer and Ruben Villanueva introduced Fall sports captains and the new sports student section, the Redzone.

Jahir Garcia, a senior at REV, said, “the best one yet to start off senior year.”

Throughout the rally, various REV student groups performed, such as the Colorguard, Junior Varsity, Varsity, and Songie Cheerleaders.

Three total games were played, the first two by the students and the third by the teachers. The first was a game called “Disney Musical Chairs” where students wore distortion goggles and had to find a chair when the music was over, but the third was a tug-o-war between teachers from various departments and the loser would be “slimed” as the famous Nickelodeon game show works.

Finally, the Pep Commissioners introduced the freshman class of 2026 to “class calls” where students attempt to be the loudest to yell their graduation year.

Carey Rowan, a sophomore, said “ I liked the enthusiasm and class calls, I wish they had more seating.”

Senior Brooke Rowan said, “It was fun and went well, minimal mistakes and really hot. More seating would be nice.”

From left to right: Redlands East Valley Fall sports captains, Brooklynn Rios (12), Aliyah Maciel (12), Aubrey Rivas (12), Celine Hill (12), Analicia Swanson (12), Charlize Munar (12), Maryn Strong (12), Abigail Washburn (12), Vivian Bosch (11) and Ainsley Zercher (11). Team captains introduce themselves to the crowds of students and the sport they represent and lead. (GEFFREY ACOSTA/ Ethic News).

Senior Pep Commissioner Seth Bruer encourages the last remaining players as they wait for the music to end and run for the remaining chair in the game at rally in the Redlands East Valley High School gym. (GEFFREY ACOSTA / Ethic News)

Players from each grade are waiting for the music to end to run and find a chair to stay in the game and continue to the next round. The rally includes a variety of games, performances, and introductions by various students and organizations at Redlands East Valley High School. (GEFFREY ACOSTA / Ethic News)

Five years later, lack of health class requirement is still a touchy subject


By KENDRA BURDICK and MIYAH SANBORN

Throughout the Redlands Unified School District, there has been the mystery of why the health class was taken out of the curriculum. The class was removed as a requirement five years ago.

Many students still do not know the reason behind the removal of this class.

In a written statement, Redlands School Board President Jim O’Neill explained that one reason was “the number of students who were using pay-for-summer school to get ahead and how this created an inequity for access to coursework in high school. More than 250+ incoming ninth-graders each year would pay $250 to take Health during the summer through the REP [Redlands Educational Partnership] foundation.”

Some students want the class back, thinking that it’s important to learn about what the health class teaches, while others think the health class made students uncomfortable or that having the class didn’t change anything.  

The following conversation took place between Redlands East Valley High School seniors Anthony Salzar and Jordan Hattar on April 27 regarding the value of health class in high school.

Anthony Salzar:  I believe that health class is valuable. I think that because most teachers don’t teach that. The internet is wrong and can lead people astray.


Jordan Hattar: No, I don’t think that parts of health class are necessary to be taught in a school. Well, back then, of course, they needed it cause there was no internet to know anything about it, but now, I knew all about it since fifth grade. If people don’t have access to the internet then it’s an adventure. At least with the internet, you don’t need to pay for a class or teachers.


Salzar: It’s a free class and this is a public school.


Hattar: Oh really? Well, I just don’t think sex ed is needed.


Salzar: It’s not just sex ed though. You’re also being taught diseases and other stuff.


Hattar: Yeah, diseases but about the other stuff, no, there’s no point. You can learn about protection on the internet and other things like that.


Salzar: If not school, people can learn this stuff from parents, siblings, and family members.


Hattar: What? But for the parents or kids that are too uncomfortable to have that talk, where else where they learn it but the internet?


Salzar: I think the class got taken away from people being uncomfortable.


Hattar: I think that not many people attended the class and they just filled it with other important classes. And I think that if the class were to be brought back, I think it wouldn’t make much of a difference.


Salzar: I think it would because it would stop a lot of teen pregnancy and help people that do know what to do are want to know more about health or sex ed.

“I think that health class is important because someone might have a disease and it’s smart to be educated about that,” says REV sophomore Max Flores, “I believe that it’s a class that should be brought back because some people don’t know how to take care of themselves and how to do it properly.”

“It can stop teen pregnancies and diseases. You also learn about your body, how to keep yourself clean and how to take care of yourself before you involve yourself with someone else,” says REV sophomore Haylee Lyon. “Especially now with the internet, everything is mainstream. I mean it’s everywhere, on TikTok, Instagram. There’s stuff going around anywhere, so I guess sheltering our kids – there’s no point in it anymore.”

While some students are unsure of why this course was removed, REV Assistant Principal Ron Kroetz addresses some of the confusion and says that the class has value.  

“The health class is important. I think that it is important for our kids to know these things and to learn,” says Kroetz. “It can be a touchy subject for some parents and how they see the content, the lessons, and whether they feel it’s appropriate for their children. It’s tough cause every kid is different and everyone has a different upbringing, a different family unit and there are different standards and different families so it’s tough for a school district to say ‘this is the only way we’re going to do it.”  

O’Neill explains the transition of the health curriculum into another class.

“We presented a couple of opportunities,” says O’Neill. “The first was to remove Health as a course for the sake of the graduation requirement and move the health units into another course; at the time it was discussed as either Biology or 9th grade PE.”

IN a related decision, sports were allowed to count for the second year of a physical education course for students.

“These two changes to policy and graduation requirements allowed students to have two more opportunities to take coursework that they were interested in rather than being required to take as a function of graduation requirements,” says O’Neill.

But there have been some challenges.

“For the PE teachers to teach the units, they must attend training and teach the most current version of health education,” says O’Neill. “The updated version includes updates to the laws on health and the new health framework. The Board has not adopted the new version and therefore the teachers have not been trained to teach the updated curriculum.”

Some students are still left with questions.

“How will the people that skipped the class [be affected] because when they were meant to have the class, the transition didn’t take place, get the education of the health class?” Joyce Harris, a freshman at REV, asks.

20 Questions with Orangewood High School’s English teacher Mrs. Lott

By JOCELYN GOMEZ

Kimberly Lott is an English teacher at Orangewood High School who is always welcoming to her students. She is known as someone who is real and honest with her students, in a way that is inspiring because she always stands in what she believes. She is unapologetically herself in the best way. Her efforts for students that are struggling don’t go unnoticed.

Q: What is your position or title? Pronouns? 

Kimberly Lott: English Teacher; she/her

Q: What are some of the classes you teach or main responsibilities with this position? 

Lott: I teach English 11 and English 12 as well as Advisory this year.  I have taught all four grades of English since I have been at OHS.  I have also taught English at the three middle school levels.  My favorite is English 12.How long have you worked in education? 24 yearsHave you held any jobs outside of education? Before I started teaching,  I worked as a teller at Bank of America; I also worked at Little Red School House which used to sell teacher supplies and a daycare with infants. I started teaching in 1998 at 23 years old.

Q: What led you to the position you are in today?  

Lott: A good friend taught at OHS and she convinced me to transfer over here.  She has since retired.

Q: What is one of your favorite parts of your job? 

Lott: My students.

Q: What is a challenging part of your job? 

Lott: My students. 🙂

Q: What is something others may not understand or know about who you are or what you do?

Lott: Students say I always look depressed, but I’m not.  That was the one good thing about masks; no one could tell if I was or wasn’t smiling under it.

Q: Who were early influences for you?

Lott: In high school, I was a TA in the library.  I got put in there because I was having a conflict with one of my teachers and that was the only place the counselor would move me.  I was so upset that I begged my parents to tell the counselor no and make her put me in another class because the librarian was so mean, but my parents said no.  It turned out to be the best part of high school.  I clicked with the librarian and we stayed in contact until she passed away.  She came to my graduation party and wedding.  Mrs. Carver taught me a lot and she had my back when I had another conflict in my senior year.  She is the reason I would love to be a high school librarian.

Q: Where did you grow up? What was life like then and there?

Lott: I grew up in San Bernardino.  My dad was raised there.  It used to be such a nice city, but that is no longer the case.

Q: What were you like as a teenager? 

Lott: A pain.  My parents would definitely agree with that.

Q: Did you have any mentors or role models growing up? How did they influence you?  

Lott: Mrs. Carver-the librarian at San Bernardino High School and Mr. Tetlock at Golden Valley Middle School.  Mr. Tetlock introduced me to the game of basketball.

Q: Is there an experience or event that had a major influence on who or where you are today? 

Lott: I look back over my teaching career and I think how strict I was when I first started because I thought that was how I was supposed to teach.  I wasn’t flexible at all.  I have learned so much since coming to OHS that has impacted my teaching style.  I have learned respect goes both way. Sometimes the lesson just isn’t working and that is ok. You’re only as good as your word. The connection you make with your students is worth so much more than a grade. My students are worth fighting for.

Q: What advice would you give your teenage-self? 

Keep your mouth shut.  Once you say something, you can’t get it back.  And thank goodness there was no social media back then.

Q: Do you like to travel and What notable places have you visited? 

Lott: I have been to Mexico and Canada.  I have been to multiple states during my life.

Q: What music do you like?  

Lott: Country and early rap

Q: Would you be willing to share a little about your family and/or pets? 

Lott: I have two kids.  Emily is 21 and Justin is 18.  Both are currently in college.  My husband and I have been married for 24 years, but I have known him since I was a teenager.  He used to ride his bike down my street to visit his girlfriend and we became friends.  I have two dogs I adore–Rufus and Avery and a cat, Shadow, who doesn’t like me and that is just fine with me.

Q: Do you have skills, interests or hobbies that you would like to share? What do you enjoy doing most with family and friends?

Lott: I enjoy camping, but haven’t done it in a long time.  I won’t camp in a tent and I don’t have an RV so that rarely happens.

Lott: What is a goal you have? 

Lott: I would really like to be a librarian at a high school or middle school.  It is scary to me because I have never tried that and, in the back of my head, I wonder what would I do if I did not like it and I couldn’t come back to OHS.

Opinion: Welcome students by normalizing pronoun usage and encouraging attendance

By JOCELYN GOMEZ

A goal at Orangewood High School will always be to help students feel welcomed in their learning environment. 

Normalize pronoun usage

A common issue that is experienced is uncomfortable pronoun usage or reference. 

People attach their identity to how they are referenced whether it’s he/she/they/them. After speaking and taking personal experiences from students that are a part of the LGBTQ+ community on campus, I feel it’s important to bring awareness for those that feel left out of everyday society during the school day, simply because others are uncomfortable with using a specific reference that applies to their gender identity.

A solution to this would be teachers having a brief lesson on the importance of pronouns even for heterosexual people, and get students comfortable with each reference. Many people use pronouns and ask people to use their pronouns because they want society to respect their identity.  Blogs, like Prospect, give personal reasons on why pronouns are important.

Encourage school attendance

After speaking to students on campus, being in the time frame during the year where absences are at a peak, I’d like to share helpful opinions on what would motivate students to come to school. 

Some students, like Orangewood Senior Thomas Vasquez, agree that they would be more motivated to attend if school lunch was better in quality and different each week.

Senior Sidney Hammons also mentioned more activities on campus, like movie nights or spring festivals. 

A more realistic and easier alternative to those activities that was recommended would be more interactive lesson plans like games that involve the lesson or subject being studied.
Tracking students’ absences and approaching them to check if they have a personal issue at home is helpful, according to companies like Creatix Campus. Sometimes asking them shows that someone cares and notices, which could mean more to a student if it was staff that asked.

Featured image was created by AVA LARSEN using canva.com

Baby food trend emerges at Redlands East Valley High School

By MIYAH SANBORN and KENDRA BURDICK

There has been an emerging trend of students bringing various types of baby foods to snack on throughout the day at Redlands East Valley High School. Although this may seem like a strange choice of food to bring to school, there are some components that compel students to eat it other than just taste. 

People of all ages have been eating baby food as a snack and with the goal of getting the nutrition that they need from a smaller portion. (KENDRA BURDICK/Ethic News photo)

Most high school students are eating baby food for the perceived benefit of losing weight, due to its nutrients and small portions. 

According to the health site Verywell Fit, Shereen Lehman, a healthcare journalist and fact checker, said, “Some proponents of the baby food diet claim that baby foods are healthier because they don’t usually contain any food additives.” 

The health site Healthline Writer Aimee Eyvazzadeh further explains how the diet is used for the reason that “the small portion sizes of baby food will reduce your daily calorie intake. There are several less restrictive versions of the diet, like replacing only one meal a day with baby food.”

With restrictive diets like the baby food diet, it’s also important to keep in mind the risk of developing disordered eating, which could lead to an eating disorder if the diet is followed for a longer period of time, according to Healthline.

“All the baby food that you can buy in the US meets strict US FDA regulations for safety,” said the health site Baptist Health.

Regardless of whether they bring baby food for dietary purposes or purely based on the taste,  some students enjoy this unusual snack to munch on throughout the school day.

Q&A: Wildcat teacher Alexandria Driscoll talks new beginnings

By KENDRA BURDICK

Alexandria Driscoll is a new teacher to Redlands East Valley High School staff. Driscoll teaches Special Education English and tries to make a colourful and inspiring learning environment for her students. Driscoll answers some questions about herself and her career below. 

Why did you choose this course to teach?

I teach special ed and this was the opening that was here. My background is a little more in science but I thought that it’d be fun and I liked English a lot when I took it as a student.

Did you teach at any other schools before REV?

I taught at a school called Shandin Hills in San Bernardino. It’s a middle school and I taught science there.

 Why did you choose to teach at REV

I really wanted to be closer to home and closer to my daughter. I figured it was a good transition because I only live five minutes from here. I went to school in Redlands and I liked it a lot, so I thought it would be a good place to work.

 Why did you choose to become a teacher?

So, originally I studied child development and I liked it a lot. I liked learning how children grow and develop and it kind of got me into the whole ‘how children learn’ and so I was really interested in that. When I graduated from grad school, my friend and I were like “what should we do next” we didn’t really know. So, I kind of dragged her along with me to a credential program with me at the University of Redlands. We really liked it and honestly I’d say that my friend and I influenced each other and with the background in child development it was really easy to transition. 

If you could have been anything other than a teacher, what would you be?

Growing up, I really wanted to be a veterinarian at the zoo. But, that takes a lot of school. Science was not my strong suit growing up and definitely not going to the medical field. But if I could go back in time, I would just be taking care of a baby koala, just feeding it with a bottle.

What’s something that’s important to you?

I would say teaching in a way that’s inclusive for my students and making sure that they’re comfortable here and they feel like they’re represented. That’s my main goal here, even before I start teaching I make sure that this is a comfortable environment for them and that they feel when they’re here they won’t be judged. That they’re comfortable to discuss things here. That’s my main goal—to have inclusion in my classroom.

What’s something that you would like to tell students?

One, mainly for my students, is to not to give up because that’s life and it’s going to be really hard. If you give up the second there’s a struggle, you’re not going to, I think, make it in this world. I’d say, if you’re struggling and it’s hard just kind of push through the best that you can.

What school did you go to?

I started at RCC in Riverside and I got a couple of associates there then I transferred to Cal State. I got a bachelor’s and I stayed there for grad school and then I got a master’s in child development. Then, I went to the U of R and I got my credential there. 

What’s the biggest thing that you welcome into your classroom?

Difference of opinions. I tell my students if you don’t agree with what I’m saying, let’s discuss it. I really welcome an open discussion and that healthy disagreement as far as if you disagree then let’s talk about it.

Who got you to where you are now?

Mainly me because it was a lot of work. My family, they’re very supportive. Both of my parents didn’t really go to college so they didn’t really know how to help me. They were always like “She’s gonna do what she’s gonna do so we’ll just support her.” I’d say that my dad is a really big supporter of me, even if he doesn’t understand fully he’ll always agree with what path I choose.

Miss Driscoll has taught at Redlands East Valley High School for a year. (KENDRA BURDICK/Ethic News Photo)

20 Questions with Orangewood High School’s all-sport coach and teacher Mark Perkins

By JOCELYN GOMEZ

Many students have had Mark Perkins as a teacher or coach since they started at Orangewood High School and he’s always made them feel welcomed and acknowledged as students. He also motivates students to finish school and aim for success. Perkins is a favorite teacher for many students and plays a role as a model teacher at Orangewood.

Perkins, who is physical education teacher, coach of all four sports and athletic director at Orangewood, answers twenty questions about himself.

Mark Perkins, Orangewood High School physical education teacher and coach, huddles with members of the Orangewood soccer team. (JOCELYN GOMEZ/ Ethic News photo)

Q: What is your position or title? Pronouns?

Mark Perkins: He, him and Mr.

Education

Mark Perkins, Orangewood High School physical education teacher and coach, looks on as the soccer team practices at Orangewood. (JOCELYN GOMEZ/ Ethic News photo)

Q: What are some of the classes you teach or main responsibilities with this position?

Perkins: Athletics Director, Coach, PE teacher

Q: How long have you worked in education?

Perkins: 28 years

Q: Have you held any jobs outside of education?

Perkins: Not really, I have always been a teacher.

Q: What led you to the position you are in today?

Perkins: I had an uncle that was a PE teacher, this was the spark that got me thinking about teaching P.E.

Q: What is one of your favorite parts of your job?

Perkins: Finding the students that are the diamonds but don’t know it yet!

Q: What is a challenging part of your job?

Perkins: The drama that the students have. It is hard to deal with every situation perfectly and drama complicates that.

Q: What is something others may not understand or know about who you are or what you do?

Perkins: I push students to be successful and sometimes that is misunderstood.

Mark Perkins, Orangewood High School physical education teacher and coach, huddles with members of the boys and girls soccer teams at Orangewood. Perkins coaches all sports at Orangewood: basketball, soccer, volley ball and softball. (JOCELYN GOMEZ/ Ethic News photo)

Growing up and Early Influences

Q: Where did you grow up? What was life like then and there?

Perkins: Ontario Canada is where I grew up. It is very green there and not very many people live there compared to the USA. So we have lots of country around us.

Q: What were you like as a teenager?

Perkins: I was really into sports and exercise, surprise surprise. 

Q: Did you have any mentors or role models growing up? How did they influence you?

Perkins: I had an uncle that was a P.E. teacher. When I was in the 8th grade I found out that in college you could go to school and be a P.E. teacher. I had no idea before that P.E. was a college degree.

Q: Is there an experience or event that had a major influence on who or where you are today?

Perkins: In college I took a job fishing in Alaska. My boat sank and I floated around in the ocean for seven hours until someone found my group.

Q: What advice would you give your teenage-self?

Perkins: I would tell me to not be afraid to share your emotions with the person you trust the most in life.

Mark Perkins, Orangewood High School physical education teacher and coach, stands by the field before a soccer match at Orangewood. (JOCELYN GOMEZ/ Ethic News photo)

Mr. Perkins Today

Q: Do you like to travel? What notable places have you visited?

Perkins: I do like to travel. France, Switzerland, Germany, Italy are places in Europe I have visited.

Q: Which languages do you speak?

Perkins: I only speak English.

Q: What music do you like and do you play any instruments?

Perkins: 80’s Rock and when I was in high school I played the saxophone.

Q: Would you be willing to share a little about your family and/or pets?

Perkins: I have been married for 31 years and have two daughters, [ages] 21 and 24. Pets include two dogs, one Chihuahua mix — wife’s dog — and a purebred Dutch Shepherd — my dog.

Q: Do you have skills, interests or hobbies that you would like to share?

Perkins: I love computers. I know how to use both PC and Mac computers. In addition to weight lifting, I also enjoy biking and the beach.

Q: What do you enjoy doing most with family and friends?

Perkins: I enjoy going to church, the beach, movies and hanging out with my friends.

Q: What is a goal you have?

Perkins: I want to travel more. Once my kids have both graduated from college, my wife and I want to see more countries of the world.

Review: “Wake Me When I’m Free” multimedia exhibit explores Tupac’s life beyond rap

By KAELEE CONTRERAS 

Located in Los Angeles, California, the Tupac museum experience, “Wake Me When I’m Free,” is a tribute to the late rapper Tupac Shakur and the significance of his life. Not only is this museum filled with amazing visuals and exhibits, but it also shares many of Tupac’s poems, songs and his upbringing.

One of Tupac’s poems displayed in the entrance of the museum. (KAELEE CONTRERAS/ Ethic News photo)


This museum was a listening experience and required a headset to listen to Tupac’s music, his interviews, events that took place in his life, and much more. Simply aim the remote at a small sensor and listen to the audio designated with the exhibit.

An example of the remote is displayed in the image on the right. (KAELEE CONTRERAS/ Ethic News photo)

As visitors walk through the museum and view these stunning exhibits, they are able to listen to the meaning and background story to each section and also get to take time for photo opportunities. One of my favorite visuals is the painting of Tupac as seen in the middle image above. (KAELEE CONTRERAS/ Ethic News photo)

Tupac’s music, poetry and life had a very big impact on the world and has inspired millions of people to express themselves and pursue their dreams. He was a positive role model for people and was a very talented and influential artist. (KAELEE CONTRERAS/ Ethic News photo)

One room of the exhibit was filled with a rose scent and displayed falling petals along with with an excerpt from a poem written by Tupac. (KAELEE CONTRERAS/ Ethic News photo)

Tupac Shakur was widely known for being one of the best-selling music artists and sold more than 75 million records worldwide. What a majority of people don’t know about Tupac is how he began his music career as a rebel with a cause to fight for injustices endured by people of color. His music brought awareness to injustices, gun control, equality, social injustices, immoral acts and many other world issues. Due to his gangsta rap music aesthetic, a majority of people misunderstood what he stood for and saw him as a bad influence and a nusiance for society and youth.

Growing up, Tupac lived with his mother and his sister and lived a very difficult childhood. His mother, Afeni Shakur, was an American political activist and a previous member of the Black Panther party. Due to being charged with drug possession, Afeni was arrested and pregnant with Tupac while imprisoned. 

Tupac’s childhood included a lot of literature, and also him getting into trouble and involved with the company of criminals. He was exposed to violence at a very young age.

The young artist began rapping at the age of 14 and started making music to project his political view and fight against racial injustices poetically.

Tupac’s music career took off after he studied poetry, theater and music in high school and soon after became a roadie and backup dancer for the rap group Digital Underground in 1990. The growth of his music career and talent was very significant and his legacy still lives  on today even after his life was unjustly taken from him at such a young age.

The museum exhibit features information on Tupac’s mother, Afeni Shakur, and the Black Panther Party. (KAELEE CONTRERAS/ Ethic News photo)

Video: 50 Questions with Ethic – Berkeley bound Wildcat chats candidly

Interviewed by MAURICIO PLIEGO

Filmed by ELLA FITZPATRICK and DANIELA MORA

Directed by ISAAC MEJIA

Come join Ethic News as they interview Redlands East Valley High School senior Arnie Corpus. Corpus responds to questions about his future at University of California, Berkley and on the badminton team winning first place in the Citrus Belt League this year. As always, Corpus answers fast, controversial “this or that” questions at the end of the interview.

The Decoders Podcast: Talking about the Tupac “Wake Me When I’m Free” Exhibit

Hosted by MARCO GARCIA GARCIA, SYDNEY HAMMONDS and CARLIE GONZALEZ

7 minute listen

Twenty students from Orangewood High School took a field trip to the Tupac Shakur “Wake Me When I’m Free” Exhibit in Los Angeles on April 27. Carlie Gonzalez, junior, asks Marco Garcia Garcia, junior, and Sydney Hammons, senior, about their experience visiting the exhibit and about Tupac overall.

Opinion: Students need a better system to report inappropriate staff behavior

By SPENCER MOORE

In eighth grade, the students in an honors science class were quietly finishing a water cycle worksheet as their ears catch the sound of a young man, watching a YouTube video on his phone. The piercing silence was perforated by this sudden blast of car noises, coming from the video the boy was watching. The teacher, frustrated by this mild act of defiance, grabs a chair nearby her desk, thrusts it above her head, and slams it onto the floor, creating a deafening roar. This was one of the first instances in which students suddenly realized that teachers needed to be held more accountable for their actions. From the perspective of the students in this classroom, this teacher received no consequence for their inappropriate behavior, and continued instruction the next day.

This event shaped much of the student body’s perception of this teacher. It was one of the first times in which students realized that as they get older, they must be treated as such, as with the increased responsibility of growing up, it also comes with a greater need for mutual respect. Across the district, many examples of teachers overstepping their boundaries have occurred either at the elementary, middle, or high schools. There are teachers who use their authority to silence discussions outside of what they believe to be true, not to mention the problematic power dynamics that exist in the intrapersonal relationships that the students have with their teachers. Any opinions shared by students are lambasted by these specific teachers, almost to the point of public mockery. While it is cruel and unhelpful to defame or otherwise degrade the character of these teachers on a public scale, this is illustrative of a greater trend at the Redlands Unified School District.

Currently, students have no official way to evaluate their courses, nor report teachers specifically for their inappropriate behavior. The only format for students to voice their concerns is through their assigned counselors, who have been known to, on numerous occasions, dismiss the concerns of the student and write it off as teenage angst and attitude.  It is crucially important, however, that the district establishes a secure line for students to evaluate their courses.

Not every poorly behaved teacher is acting in these extreme manners, though, as there are some who simply do not input grades regularly, give unstructured and unfocused lessons, and have personal issues that bleed into their teaching responsibilities. One major way for teachers to be evaluated is through standardized testing, whether it be at the district, state, or national level. This has its own problems though, as many students suffer from test anxiety, and others don’t pay attention to instruction, it is not fair for the quality of a teacher to be judged through the work their students complete.

Most major collegiate level institutions already have a system for evaluations of courses directly by the students, so why shouldn’t high schools? Many opponents of this idea have brought up the fact that college students are acting as customers of their school, but high school students are not, therefore they should not be permitted to review a service that they do not pay for. This equivalency is false as by federal law, all minors are required to receive some form of schooling. If they do not, the parents and/or legal guardians will be fined and in some extreme cases, the children are taken from their homes. If students are required to attend a school, would it not be more imperative that they are able to share their thoughts and concerns? Not all of these evaluations are needed for reasons as innocent as simply not doing their job very well, sometimes the behavior requires further measures to cease inappropriate personal conduct.

The SpriGeo system, buried under tabs and links on the district and school websites, has been recently put into place to address harassment concerns on campuses but it is not specifically designed for reporting of interactions and behaviors of teachers and other staff members. Many students feel that they still do not have a secure line to specifically address the issues that come up with campus staff.

The system further has problems lying in the fact that in the actual report filing program, it states that their grade should be listed, if known, and it suggests that students talk to an administrator, completely negating this premise of anonymity, not to mention how it asks for the person reporting the issue’s name. While optional, it may lead students to believe that the promise of anonymity is misleading. This ignorance of teacher harassment and misbehavior further isolates the student from putting a stop to the issue.

Teacher accountability is not limited to only the behavior that they exhibit in their instruction though, as it also extends to the personal relationships they share with students. RUSD has paid over 41 million dollars within the last five years in settlement money for sexual harrassment lawsuits alone. This number far exceeds any competing figures in other school districts. Unprofessional and off putting behavior could have been reported earlier, possibly even stopping some of these cases from ever occurring. If the school district decided to create and heavily publicize lines of help for these specific instances we would likely have a great deal fewer cases of this abuse. The SpriGeo system, while a step in the right direction, needs further improvement and clarification as to what types of reports it accepts.

The board of RUSD are elected to their offices by local citizens, to serve the adults of the community and their children, while providing the highest quality school environments they can, as it is crucial to the benefit of their education to give students a safe and secure place to learn. It is the campus staff and teacher’s job to keep their students safe and provide them with the highest possible level of quality in education, which also includes a good environment for students to work in. 

An image of the safety section of the RUSD 2025 plan. Other sections of this plan can be found at RUSD.net

The district pushes forward its ‘RUSD 2025’ plan, and while to the general populace, this is regarded as a step into the right direction, and even into the future, it makes very little substantive progress in regards to the safety of students. The 2025 plan does make mention of safety in Redlands schools, but frames every point made in regards to safety as an outside issue, as opposed to pointing the lens of misbehavior upon itself, which unfortunately is where most of the danger lies. Excellence in education may be the district slogan, but it certainly is not the district standard.

Correction: The last two paragraphs and image were accidentally omitted in the original publishing of this post at 8:30 pm on May 12, 2022. It was corrected at 9:13 pm on May 12, 2022.